Tees

Missing toddler Katrice Lee: Arrest made in Swindon

Katrice Lee Image copyright Family Photo
Image caption Katrice Lee went missing on her second birthday while out shopping with her mother

An arrest has been made over the 38-year-old mystery of a toddler who went missing in Germany.

Katrice Lee, from Hartlepool, disappeared from a supermarket near a British Army base in Paderborn on her second birthday in 1981.

She was with her mother at a Naafi supermarket when she vanished.

Royal Military Police said an arrest was made in the Swindon area but would not comment any further. A garden has also been searched.

A spokesman said: "We can confirm that an arrest was made on 23 September by the Royal Military Police in connection with the disappearance of Katrice Lee in 1981."

Image copyright Royal Military Police
Image caption Royal Military Police said this man was seen putting a child in a green saloon car near where Katrice Lee disappeared

In 2012, Royal Military Police chiefs admitted mistakes were made during the initial investigation into Katrice's disappearance, and in 2017 the government agreed to review the case.

A year later, the Royal Military Police undertook a forensic search on the bank of the River Alme, near to where she went missing.

The river site was identified after the release of an age-progressed photo-fit of a man seen at the Naafi holding a child similar to Katrice.

He was seen in a parked green car on a bridge over the river the day after she went missing.

At the time, Katrice's father Richard Lee, a former sergeant major, said the news confirmed his long-held belief the toddler had been abducted.

Image copyright European Photopress Agency
Image caption An army search of the riverbank area involved more than 100 soldiers

More than 100 soldiers took part in the five-week search which unearthed bone fragments, but tests confirmed they were non-human.

Following the search Mr Lee said: "I believe what we should now be looking at a public inquiry into the treatment of the family through all of this and the way in which the case has been handled.

"If things had been done properly in 1981 we wouldn't still be going through this now."

Image caption Katrice's father Richard Lee has always maintained she was abducted

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