It is December 8, 1996 when a hunter finds a naked male corpse on the slope of a disused gravel pit in the North Rhine-Westphalian municipality of Rheurdt-Schaephuysen on the Lower Rhine. The unknown dead has been there for a long time. His body is badly battered. Apparently he died as a result of violence. The coroner counted 16 hits to the head alone, and a finger and a lower leg were broken.
The investigators are puzzled: could the stranger be an Eastern European, one of the many Polish farm workers on the Lower Rhine? But despite intensive investigations and an appeal in the program "Aktenzeichen XY unsolved" with a drawn identikit picture of the dead man in 1997, the man cannot be identified. Even offering a reward of 3,000 Deutschmarks didn't get the investigators any further.
Due to a lack of investigative prospects, the case is on hold and becomes a "cold case". Nevertheless, he is not forgotten by the officials. After all, it remained the only unsolved murder in the Kleve district for decades. More than 20 years later, investigators were able to create a new identikit image of the victim using new digital imaging technology. In August 2019, the case will be broadcast again on the ZDF program "Aktenzeichen XY unsolved" and the phantom photo will also be shown. With success.
More than 50 tips are received about the "Sandkuhle" case, as the Krefeld Homicide Commission now calls it. Some of the new clues lead to extensive investigations, but only one from the Aachen area turns out to be a hit: A man claims that the dead man is a 43-year-old mobile home dealer who lived in Würselen near Aachen. Further investigations revealed that the man was never reported missing because his VW bus and dog went missing with him. Since the divorced father of two children was in debt, the family assumed that he had left. But the caller not only knows the victim, but also one of the alleged perpetrators. His brother, who has since died, is said to have helped kill the man, now identified as Wilfried K.
In September 2020, the investigators can then also arrest a prime suspect. The 51-year-old is said to have worked in the victim's workshop together with the suspected accomplice who died in an accident in Turkey. The men are said to have killed their boss in his apartment in Aachen out of greed - for 5,000 Deutschmarks. While the accomplice who later died (26 at the time) is said to have struck several times with a hammer, the other perpetrator is said to have throttled the victim to death with a rope. In May 2021, he was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Aachen Regional Court for murder out of greed.
On Wednesday (July 5th), this and another case will be discussed in the ZDF program "Aktenzeichen XY solved" (8:15 p.m.). Moderator Sven Voss sets out on a journey and traces the path to solving the murder. From the years of unsuccessful search for the identity of the victim to the reopening of the case by the cold case unit at the LKA North Rhine-Westphalia and the conviction of a murderer. At locations relevant to the crime, he speaks to detectives and prosecutors about the difficult investigations.
Watch the video: After more than 30 years, investigators in Indiana have cracked a "cold case". DNA evidence helped establish the identity of the so-called "I-65 killer." The man had murdered three women. He was also accused of sexual assault.
Sources: ZDF, Aachen Police, Krefeld Police, DPA