THE dad of a toddler who vanished overseas three decades ago has been given fresh hope after appearing on a television show aired to millions on the continent.
Richard Lee appeared on the XYZ programme, hailed as Germany’s version of Crimewatch, which was beamed to more than five million people across Europe.
He said new information has come in since the show was screened, but he only wants to know of any new leads if they are positive.
The 63-year-old flew to Munich and was interviewed about his ordeal, which began almost 32 years ago, when his two-year-old daughter Katrice went missing from a Naafi store in Paderborn, Germany, where Richard was serving as a Sergeant Major with the British Army.
He said: “More leads have been passed on, but my main concern was that my daughter’s story got out there and it was out there for over five million in Europe.
“It can also go further afield.
“I feel that now my story, and Katrice’s story, is out there.”
Richard said he was among five families of missing children who described their ordeals on the show, including a woman from Berlin who lost her brother 28 years ago.
He spent three days filming in Germany last month and the show was screened while he was in Munich.
Richard, a divorced former postman who lives off Stockton Road in Hartlepool, added: “Within the first airing of the programme, information was coming in.
“But I said to the police ‘don’t tell me what it is – I’ve climbed too many mountains to be knocked back off again, contact me when you have got something positive’.”
Katrice vanished on a trip to a supermarket in Germany on her second birthday with her mum Sharon, who now lives in Gosport, Hampshire, on November 28, 1981.
Despite international appeals, she has never been found.
Richard, who is also dad to Natasha Lee, had previously said he felt the family had suffered “decades of silence” and a catalogue of unfairness and errors during the probe into Katrice’s disappearance.
But last year he told the Mail he received some “vindication” when Royal Military Police (RMP) chiefs who have been investigating the case, admitted failings in the original investigation.
He has since called for an independent inquiry.