Arrest made in connection with disappearance of Hartlepool girl Katrice Lee

Police have made an arrest as part of the inquiry into the disappearance of Katrice Lee.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 19:58 pm
Katrice Lee, who went missing in West Germany in 1981.

Katrice went missing on her second birthday while in a NAAFI supermarket in West Germany, near to where her father Richie was stationed as a soldier with the British Army 37 years ago.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Defence confirmed it made an arrest as part of the inquiry on Monday.

In a statement an Army spokesperson said: “We can confirm that an arrest was made on September 23 by the Royal Military Police in connection with the disappearance of Katrice Lee in 1981.

Richard Lee, left, father of Katrice Lee, listens to Warrant officer Richard O'Leary, centre, at a forensic investigation site of the Royal Military Police near the river Alme in Paderborn, Germany, in May last year as excavations were carried out. Pic by PA.

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“As this is an ongoing investigation we cannot comment further at this stage.”

The MoD added that the Lee family has been informed of the arrest.

Military police reportedly began searching a terraced house in the Moredon area of Swindon on Monday.

An Army spokesman refused to give the gender or age of the arrested person, nor what they had been arrested on suspicion of.

Katrice Lee, who was two when she went missing.

Katrice’s family have always believed that she is still alive somewhere and was stolen to be a surrogate child for another family.

Katrice was out shopping with mum Sharon at the store, near to where her dad was stationed, when she went missing.

Her mother realised in the checkout line that she had forgotten crisps and asked Katrice's sister to watch her.

Richard Lee, father of Katrice Lee, talks to the media about a forensic investigation by the Royal Military Police near the river Alme in Paderborn, Germany, in May last year. Photo by AP Photo/Martin Meissner.

When she returned in what she has estimated was less than a minute, Katrice was gone.

Her sister said Katrice had run after her and she believed they were together.

A large-scale excavation of a river bank in Paderborn, Germany, carried out last year failed to find any evidence of Katrice.

Richie has previously been critical of the Royal Military Police who are leading the investigation, particularly over their handling of the case immediately following Katrice's disappearance.

In 2012, Royal Military Police chiefs admitted its original investigation was flawed and it is reinvestigating the case.

Katrice's sister Natasha Walker set up the Facebook group The Search for Katrice Lee.