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Katrice Lee dad due to visit excavation site

Katrice Lee aged two
Katrice Lee aged two

The father of Katrice Lee who disappeared in Germany as a toddler 36 years ago will today visit the site being excavated in the search for answers.

Katrice, from Hartlepool, went missing from a NAAFI in Paderborn near the military base where Richie was stationed with the British Army on November 28, 1981.

It was Katrice's second birthday.

Excavation work started earlier this week and today Richie, 68, will go onto the site to see the work of the forensic investigators.

He and investigators are also due to give a press conference to the media later this afternoon.

On the Facebook page The Search for Katrice Lee, Richie expressed his thanks for the overwhelming support for him and his family, but also of his emotions with being back in Germany again.

Part of the excavation site in Pederborn, Germany

Part of the excavation site in Pederborn, Germany

He said: "This journey has been,to say the least extremely hard on myself ,to come out here to represent my whole family,and for want of better words re-enter the living nightmare my family and extended family have had to endure.

"I will not give up on my quest to get answers, but this journey would of been a great deal harder without the fantastic support from you all.

"I live in hope,and am humbled by your continued support."

Katrice's family have always believed she was taken as a surrogate child for another family and is alive somewhere unaware of her real identity.

Richie Lee

Richie Lee

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has joined Richie on the trip to Germany as part of his support of his quest for answers.

Mr Hill said: "The feelings that Richie and the family are going through are unimaginable.

"The reality of looking at the dig site throws everything into perspective. I'm pleased that there is fresh momentum in investigating this particular line of inquiry.

"It is long overdue."

An age progressed picture of how Katrice might look now aged 38

An age progressed picture of how Katrice might look now aged 38

The detailed excavation is expected to last for five weeks.

Senior Investigating Officer Richard O’Leary said earlier this week: "The aim of the search is to find evidence that could finally shed light on what happened to Katrice.”

Katrice's case was featured on the BBC's Crimewatch in February last year when a photo-fit was released of a man seen at the NAAFI on the day Katrice disappeared.

He is said to have been seen holding a child similar to Katrice and getting into a green saloon car.

The investigation team is keen to hear from anyone who could help to identify the man.

A picture showing how Katrice may look now aged 38 was released by the investigation team on the anniversary of her disappearance last November.

A photo fit of a man investigators want to identify. Photo MOD/PA Wire

A photo fit of a man investigators want to identify. Photo MOD/PA Wire

Anyone with information can contact the Operation BUTE team on the following ways:
• UK Helpline telephone: 0800 616888
• Germany Helpline telephone: 0800 184 2222

• Facebook: Operation BUTE
• Twitter: @operationbute
• Email: SIBRMP-OpBUTE- Mailbox@mod.gov.uk