Crime: Five-year-old girl killed - arrest warrant against babysitter

A small white stuffed bear, a sandman doll and some roses and daffodils lie at the entrance to the park in the north of Berlin.

Crime: Five-year-old girl killed - arrest warrant against babysitter

A small white stuffed bear, a sandman doll and some roses and daffodils lie at the entrance to the park in the north of Berlin. Next to it are red grave lights on Wednesday. People keep stopping for a moment, and some have tears on their faces.

The missing five-year-old girl was found on Tuesday afternoon near the Bürgerpark in the Pankow district of Berlin - with at least one knife wound in her body and lifeless.

Search operation with 100 officers and helicopter

Helpers tried to revive the girl. It was then flown to a hospital in a helicopter. There it died. Shortly after the discovery, the police arrested a 19-year-old "at the edge of the park" as a suspect. The public prosecutor's office then explained his connection to the killed girl on Wednesday: He was a friend of the child's family and babysitter for the four children.

An arrest warrant for manslaughter has been issued against the suspect. This was announced late Wednesday afternoon by a spokesman for the public prosecutor's office. "A sexual motive does not play a role according to the current situation," said a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor's office. This was also confirmed by the autopsy of the body. A homicide commission is investigating the motive for the crime and other background information.

According to initial findings from the police and public prosecutor's office, which are based on statements by the family and witnesses, the 19-year-old took care of the girl who was later killed and her three younger siblings on Tuesday afternoon on the Paule-Park playground in a green area in bourgeois Pankow.

At around 2:30 p.m., the young man left there with the five-year-old. As a reason, he said the child had to go to the toilet. He asked other people to take care of the three other children. A little later the man came back without the girl and said he had lost her.

Other people from the playground alerted the police around 3 p.m. and reported the girl missing. The police launched a major search operation involving more than 100 officers and a helicopter. The area was combed until passers-by finally found the girl around 5.40 p.m. about 700 meters away in the nearby Bürgerpark. The babysitter was arrested shortly thereafter.

The public prosecutor did not want to say whether the family and the suspect live in Pankow or in neighboring districts such as Gesundbrunnen on the western side of the former border between West and East Berlin. According to the police, the victim has German-Turkish-Polish nationality, and the suspect has German and Turkish nationality. The spokeswoman said his mother and the mother of the girl killed were friends.

Tears and sadness in Berlin

Berlin's governing mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) reacted during the night. "I'm shocked. (...) It breaks my heart and I'm deeply saddened," she wrote on Twitter. Her thoughts are with the little girl's parents and her loved ones.

On Tuesday evening, the forensic technicians from the State Criminal Police Office began searching for clues in the specially illuminated park and continued on Wednesday. The site where the child was found on a hill in the park was still cordoned off over a wide area. Numerous police officers secured the area, forensic scientists were on site.

On Wednesday, dozens of police officers scoured the park in a broad formation from where the body was found in the direction of the playground. The murder weapon was sought and was believed to be a knife. The police searched bushes and leaves on the ground with sticks and rakes. Some police officers looked into the glass container. Police flew a drone over the scene to take aerial photos. The investigating authorities did not initially reveal whether the search was successful.