The last fog of the night was still hanging in the trees when a dozen police cars with flashing lights drove into the community of Bingen near the Swabian Alb on Monday morning. A two-year-old girl has been missing in the Hitzkofen district since Sunday evening.
There were sub-zero temperatures at night, reported police spokesman Christian Sugg. More than 100 police officers, a helicopter and several sniffer dogs also searched for the child on Monday - but again without success. The search will continue this Tuesday, including with the help of the water police.
The two-year-old is said to have left her parents' house on Sunday in an unobserved moment. This is located in close proximity to the Lauchert River. The normally calm river is currently in flood, as the mayor of the municipality in the Baden-Württemberg district of Sigmaringen, Jochen Fetzer (independent), said. "That makes things even more dramatic." There is significantly more water in the river than usual. The mayor, as well as the police and other emergency services, hope to find the child safely despite all the odds.
The police helicopter repeatedly rattles over Hitzkofen. Equipped with thick boots and hats, the police officers comb the river embankment, forest areas and open spaces. “The mood is depressing,” said Andrea Enz (63) from Bingen. She has grandchildren of a similar age herself. The case is close to her and she feels for it, said the 63-year-old.
Police comb every meter in the area
On Monday afternoon, the police expanded their search radius. According to a police spokeswoman, a hundred from the Ravensburg police headquarters and the police headquarters from Göppingen ran in a star shape from the little one's parents' house and combed every meter. In addition, family, acquaintances and friends were questioned. "It takes hours." The child's parents' home was also searched. “There are no indications of traces of violence,” said police spokesman Sugg.
Around 180 emergency services from the fire department, technical relief organization, rescue service and German Red Cross searched for the two-year-old until late into the night on Sunday. Four drones and a helicopter were also in the air. But the weather made it difficult to get visibility, explained Oliver Weißflog, head of the police press office.
Divers were also deployed - but without success. The emergency services looked for the child at a weir. The weir is located between Bingen and Sigmaringendorf, where the Lauchert flows into the Danube. “We found no trace of the missing girl there,” said a police spokeswoman.
In your pajamas on an icy night
Mayor Fetzer hopes that the missing girl spent the night somewhere warm. "I can't imagine that there is still much hope when the temperature is below zero." The mood in the town was affected, said Fetzer. The girl's parents are staying with friends outside the community. The family has only been living in the area since last year.
According to the parents' description, the two-year-old is around 60 centimeters tall and has short, blonde hair and blue eyes. “As far as we know, the girl is only wearing pajamas,” said Sugg. The Sigmaringen Criminal Police Office began the investigation and asked for information about the girl's whereabouts.
According to the police, apart from the location of the disappearance, there were no further clues as of Monday afternoon. “We hope for a happy outcome,” said Sugg.