Katrice Lee from Hartlepool was two when she vanished in 1981.
Her parents have always claimed that military police were slow to react to their daughter's disappearance.
Her father, Richard, says that although he welcomes the apology, he feels a public inquiry is the only way he will discover the truth.
More top news
Some fans got to the stadium 12 hours early to make sure they bagged the best spot for Beyonce's huge concert in Sunderland
Former Newcastle United captain Alan Shearer admits interest in England role - but backs ex-Boro boss Gareth Southgate and Glenn Hoddle
Your pictures of the thunder storms that hit the region on this day in 2012.