Crime: Missing Kezhia (19) found dead – how the police tracked down her suspect boyfriend (42).

Kezhia H.

Crime: Missing Kezhia (19) found dead – how the police tracked down her suspect boyfriend (42).

Kezhia H. was killed with 30 knife wounds. This was the result of a first post-mortem examination commissioned by the Stendal public prosecutor's office on April 21. The autopsy of the body has not yet been completed, only then will the official cause of death be known.

On the same day, Kezhia's friend was brought before the magistrate. The 42-year-old was interrogated by the police shortly after Kezhia's disappearance. But without a corpse, no crime could be proven against him, the man remained free for the time being.

Now he is in custody – on strong suspicion of manslaughter.

And Kezhia will remain 19 years old forever. She lived in Klötze in the north of Saxony-Anhalt, wanted to be a confectioner, and did an apprenticeship for it. But her heart belonged to football and her home club, VfB 07 Klötze. "Kessi" raced across the lawn for him at the age of five, later stood in goal and on the pitch as a referee. In a conversation with the local newspaper, she told the then 15-year-old about her plans for the future: She was still a bit shy with the adults, but in the long term she also wanted to lead men's games - as high-class as possible. Maybe even in the Bundesliga. She must have thought she was on the right track. "I did everything right," Kezhia said at the time.

She met her boyfriend at the club: also a football fan, 23 years older than her, electrician and family man. Her mother knew about the relationship, but she told a local newspaper that her relationship with her daughter's boyfriend was difficult. By then, Kezhia had been missing for more than two weeks.

On March 4th she had had lunch with her mother. "I'll go," she then said, as her mother recalls. Kezhia went to a nearby bus stop. She was wearing a gray jacket, light trousers and white shoes, according to the police's missing persons report. Her boyfriend picked her up in a white van. Together they wanted to go to the Bundesliga match between VfL Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt.

He dropped her off in Wolfsburg. She was last seen by witnesses near Wolfsburg's main train station. Her friend then went back to his company in Braunschweig. When he then wanted to meet Kezhia again in Wolfsburg, she did not show up.

The next day, a Sunday, her mother wrote to Kezhia, asking for another dinner together before Kezhia wanted to go on vacation to southern Germany with her boyfriend on Monday. Kezhia didn't answer.

Not even on Monday. Kezhia's phone was off, as was her boyfriend's. Her mother became restless, Kezhia had never answered so long, she later told the local newspaper "Volksstimme". But she tried to calm down: the two of them were probably already on the road and didn't want to be disturbed on vacation.

Tuesday, March 7, Women's Day: The police called Kezhia's mother. Her daughter's boyfriend reported her missing. Three days after he last saw her.

On March 10, the police launched a public manhunt, looking for witnesses who saw Kezhia. In the days that followed, family, friends and strangers distributed posters with Kezhia's photo and description, looking for her in Wolfsburg and Klötze, Braunschweig and Salzwedel.

On March 23, police officers from the Stendal Police Station searched the home of Kezhia's 42-year-old friend. "He is being investigated on suspicion of manslaughter," says a police press release. A spokeswoman later explained that the 42-year-old, who had initially only been questioned as a witness, got involved in contradictions during the questioning. By then, Kezhia had been gone for almost three weeks.

On April 12, helicopters flew through the air over Klötze, forests and meadows were extensively searched. The 42-year-old suspect was interrogated again, and once again he returned home.

Just under a week later, the police again asked for information and were now looking specifically for a white VW Crafter van with the logo of a company from Braunschweig. The van that the 42-year-old Kezhia used to pick up and drive to Wolfsburg. "It's rather unusual and you might notice it when company vehicles are on the road at the weekend," says Jeannine Stage-Breuer, spokeswoman for the Stendal Police Inspectorate. In "detailed criminal work," the investigators finally evaluated the tachograph from the van, compared it with the suspect's statements, distances and driving times. The police had been looking for Kezhia for more than six weeks.

On April 20, investigators trudged through a birch grove near a gravel works in the Helmstedt district, 40 kilometers southwest of Wolfsburg, 60 kilometers south of Klötze. In a pit, two meters deep, they found Kezhia's body. Kezhia's friend was arrested again the same day.

VfB 07 Klötze has suspended game operations for this weekend. In the bright spring sun, in front of one of the soccer goals, there is a board covered in black fabric with photos of Kezhia on it, next to it candles, white roses, and soccer balls. And in the goal on a metal frame a VfB 07 Klötze jersey. A player jersey without a player.