A FATHER whose daughter went missing three decades ago says he hopes the milestone anniversary of her disappearance will prick someone’s conscience to reveal her whereabouts.
Hartlepool girl Katrice Lee went missing from a Naafi supermarket in Germany 30 years ago this week on her second birthday.
Her father Richie, who believes Katrice was snatched, has never given up hope of finding her.
Speaking from his home in the Stockton Road area of town, retired postman Richie said: “Yes I believe she is out there.
“She could even be in her hometown.
“Katrice is alive.
“I’m hoping that the person who knows what’s happened, who knows Katrice is living a lie and the length of time that’s passed now, may prick their conscience.
“I would like to think that the anniversary is the trigger. As far as I’m concerned it’s a plus-point and without information being pushed out there it’s left under the table.”
Richie said Katrice’s sister, Natasha, 37, who now lives in Gosport, Hampshire, released balloons featuring a picture of Katrice, which has become an annual event.
And he added that Natasha has taken up the reins in spearheading the campaign to find Katrice, as at 62, he felt “time is taking its toll” and “unfortunately you can’t live forever”.
Richie drew comparisons with his family and Kate and Gerry McCann, parents of four-year-old Madeline McCann who went missing while on holiday in the Algarve in Portugal in 2007.
He said both families had not received enough help from the authorities and both felt they had not been listened to.
Richie, who was serving with the British Army at the time of the disappearance on November 28, 1981, added he supported the McCanns and other relatives of missing people who had lobbied Prime Minister David Cameron last year to provide more help to families in their situation.
He said he had “taken heart” from the news that American Jaycee Lee Dugard had turned up safe and well in 2009, despite being snatched, as an 11-year-old 18 years before.
“It gives you strength, it gives you heart,” added Richie.
“At times your head goes down and you start to feel you are fighting a losing battle.
“But something like that happens and it’s like having a second wind.”
Anyone with information about Katrice’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Missing Persons Bureau on 0500 700700.