Missing Katrice Lee: Hartlepool dad had 'gut feeling this was not her time'

The father of missing Katrice Lee has reacted to the end of the latest line of inquiry into her disappearance by saying: “I had a gut feeling that this was not her time.”

Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 11:56 am
Richie Lee with a picture of missing daughter Katrice Lee.

A former serviceman was arrested last week in connection with the near 38-year-old mystery surrounding the Hartlepool toddler.

While he was released without charge two days later, the Royal Military Police (RMP) continued searching a property in Swindon in connection with the investigation.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has now confirmed that this search has ended with no further action planned.

Specialist teams use ground penetrating radar to search a garden of a house in the Moredon area of Swindon in connection with the disappearance of Katrice Lee last week.

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Katrice’s dad, Richie Lee, 69, who still lives in Hartlepool, said: “When I first heard about this, I had a gut feeling that this was not Katrice’s time and kept a level head about it all.”

Katrice disappeared on her second birthday from an Army supermarket in Paderborn, Germany, on November 28, 1981, while shopping with her mother and sister.

Richie, a serving soldier at the time, last week called the arrest “totally unexpected” and has now added: “I said when she first went missing that is going to be a long one. I was right then and I seem to be right now.

“In one way I am happy that there are no answers because I do not think there are any yet.”

Police tape was placed around the terraced house in Abbey View Road, in Moredon, Swindon, and a tent erected in the back garden.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence has now confirmed that investigations at the house finished last Friday night and added: “The search of the property has ended.

“There will be no further action at this time in connection with the search.”

Retired sergeant major Richie, who has been critical of the RMP’s handling of his daughter’s disappearance, believes Katrice may still be alive, adding: “My daughter does not have a voice so I will continue to fight for her.

“I believe my daughter was abducted as a surrogate child, possibly sold for profit to a childless couple, and lives a life elsewhere, possibly even speaking a different language.

“You get cases of people contacting their DNA parents after abduction, so such incidents still give me hope.”