Saturday, 28th November 1981 was Katrice Lee’s second birthday. It was also the day she vanished.


Drizzle filled the air surrounding the NAAFI supermarket in Schloss Neuhaus. It was the main supermarket for British Soldiers and their families from the local garrison in Paderborn, West Germany. It was payday, the car park was packed, and the store buzzed with hurried shoppers filling their trolleys.

Sharon, Katrice’s mother and Wendy, Katrice’s aunt, had quickly worked their way through the store with Katrice in tow. They were queued at the checkout when Sharon realised, she had forgotten crisps, telling Wendy to stay in the queue with Katrice; Sharon headed for the crisps, and Katrice ran after her; she never made it to her mother.

Outside, smoking a cigarette in the drizzle, Richard waited; leaning against his car, he had a clear view across the busy car park to the entrance of the NAAFI store. Eventually, wondering what was taking so long, he went inside to look for Sharon. By this time, Sharon and Wendy were distraught in the manager’s office; as Richard approached, Wendy told Richard that Katrice was missing. Soldier mode kicked in, and Richard grabbed as many soldiers as possible to form a search party. They didn’t find Katrice. 

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