Investigators have ended a renewed search for a British toddler who went missing in Germany 36 years ago after failing to turn up any fresh evidence.
Katrice Lee disappeared on her second birthday – 28 November 1981 – during a shopping trip with her mother on the outskirts of Paderborn, near the British military base where her father Richard was stationed.
The Royal Military Police (RMP) were effectively in charge of the investigation into Katrice’s disappearance in conjunction with the German police, and both believed she had fallen into a nearby river and drowned.
A recent review of the evidence had concluded the riverbank was “significant and of interest”.
However, RMP has failed to turned up any new leads on what happened to the toddler following a five-week excavation of the riverbank.
Police reopened Katrice’s case in 2000 after new technology was used to form an image of what Katrice would look like now.
Several new witnesses came forward, including a young man who had been standing behind Mrs Lee at the checkout of a shop when her daughter went missing. A checkout lady also came forward to speak to police.
Investigators were also told of three possible sightings of Katrice after her story appeared on the BBC television show Missing Live, which featured a digital rendering of the toddler as a 29-year-old.
Katrice’s elder sister Natasha Lee also appeared on Crimewatch to highlight the appeal after their father received an anonymous phone call from a woman saying to “look for your daughter in France.”
RMP looked into these leads but found nothing more to investigate.