Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Mystery of Missing Katrice Is So Sad. Help Me to Solve It

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Mystery of Missing Katrice Is So Sad. Help Me to Solve It

Article excerpt


A FORMER Teesside soldier is today imploring ex-squaddies to rack their brains to solve one of Britain's saddest and longest-running disappearances.

Katrice Lee, daughter of former Teesside staff sergeant Richard Lee, vanished without trace on her second birthday from a supermarket near Paderborn, Germany, on November 28, 1981.

The family had gone to the supermarket to shop. Hundreds were about and Katrice disappeared inside in seconds.

The case has chilling echoes of the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal.

Katrice, daughter of former Hartlepool soldier Richard and his former wife Sharon, has never been traced.

Despite a massive hunt and 30-year campaign, no evidence has turned up to solve the mystery.

Now ex-comrade Jeff Carroll, 53, of Guisborough's Buckshees Military shop, wants to help Richard get Katrice's file released from the Military Police via the Freedom of Information Act.

Jeff was one of the first searchers of thousands who scoured the area day and night around the Naafi supermarket. Jeff, who was a trooper in an armoured recce unit of the 15th/19th Hussars, is telling his story for the first time, hoping to trigger a vital memory from fellow Teessiders.

He said: "Two things could have happened to Katrice.

"Either she was abducted by someone in a vehicle, or she could have fallen into a fast-flowing stream which ran near the entrance to the supermarket.

"There were hundreds of soldiers of various units searching and the Hussars included many from Teesside.

"Someone could have seen something which could help the family. I've gone over and over that day in my mind, trying to remember anything I've missed."

The Hussars were based at Paderborn and the supermarket was at Schloss Nuehaus, three kilometres from the base.

Jeff said: "Lunchtime on November 28 was bitterly cold and if Katrice had slipped into the river, she'd have been dead of hypothermia before she drowned in a short time. …

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