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TV programme to highlight case of Katrice Lee, who disappeared 30 years ago
THE father of a toddler who disappeared on her second birthday almost 30 years ago is taking part in a television reconstruction of the day she vanished.
Richie Lee, father of Katrice Lee, who disappeared while in a NAAFI store in Germany in 1981, will film an interview for the German equivalent of Crimewatch, called XYZ, on Thursday (MARCH 14).
The 63-year-old, from Hartlepool, who has dedicated his life to finding his daughter, will be asked to speak about what he was doing on the day Katrice disappeared, and his memories of the time afterwards, when he travels to Southampton to film the documentary.
His interview will be used alongside a reconstruction of the day she went missing with actors playing the parts of the family.
Mr Lee said he hoped the documentary would jolt people’s memories as it is shown across Europe.
“It will give it a wide reach because it will also go on Sky Channels, so it will go around the world and remind people that Katrice is still missing,” he said.
“People are much more likely to talk about missing children nowadays.
“When Katrice went missing people would cross the road to avoid me because they didn’t know what to say. The police at the time made us feel like we were a thorn in their side.
“The Madeleine McCann disappearance made me realise how much things have changed. They had Richard Branson putting up a £1m reward.
“I’ll never give up until Katrice is found. She might even have her own family now – I could be a grandparent.”
Katrice disappeared from a NAAFI store in Paderborn, West Germany, where Mr Lee was serving as a sergeant major, on November 28, 1981. Her mother went to the checkout for a moment but when she returned Katrice was gone.
The family believe the little girl was abducted and is still alive. At the time the military police concluded she had drowned in a nearby river – an assumption which Mr Lee said lost them the “golden hours” after her disappearance. German police refused to go to the press and it was six weeks before an item appeared in the newspapers.
The BBC Crimewatch show televised the disappearance in November and broadcast forensic images of Katrice aged six, 11, 16, 21, 28 and 33, but did not mention that she had a slight squint in her left eye which would need to be corrected by surgery.