Farewell to “Case number XY”: Alfred Hettmer on a particularly moving case: “I answered the call myself”

When "Aktenzeichen He has been known to viewers through this task for a good 20 years.

Farewell to “Case number XY”: Alfred Hettmer on a particularly moving case: “I answered the call myself”

When "Aktenzeichen He has been known to viewers through this task for a good 20 years. The former investigator from the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office has been part of the ZDF program team since the mid-1980s, and in 2002 he took over the management of the "XY" recording studio.

A few days before the current broadcast, Hettmer gave stern a written interview. The Ingolstadt native reviews cases that particularly moved him and says what type of crime is very close to him personally. And he says goodbye to TV presenter Rudi Cerne. Although – Hettmer doesn’t quite stop with “File Number XY”.

Dear Mr. Hettmer, for 20 years you have been presenting the first audience information at the end of the program “Aktenzeichen XY”. Now stop. Why are you saying goodbye? And will it be a complete farewell to “File Number XY”?

At 68 years old, I'm no longer the youngest person. Above all, I never wanted to give the impression that I had to be “carried off the stage.” That's why now is the right time for me to pass the reins on to a younger colleague.

In addition, my wife will be retiring in February 2024 and we still have a little more time for activities together.

But it's not a final farewell yet. I will also take part in three to four programs next year and support my colleagues from the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office in the recording studio. But then only in the background.

Which case has affected you the most over the past 20 years?

I've been asked this question very often. I was very moved by several cases for various reasons. Let me briefly address two of them.

On the one hand there is the Lolita Brieger case. In 1982 the girl disappeared without a trace. The police assumed it was a homicide, but there was no body and no evidence to support this assumption. In 2011 the case was presented again on “Aktenzeichen XY”. In the broadcast, the investigator appealed to the conscience of possible accomplices to come forward. Shortly afterwards the phone rang in the studio and I answered the call myself. It was the starting point for further extensive investigations, which led to Lolita Brieger's body being found and the crime being solved. After 29 years, the victim's mother found out what happened to her daughter. The perpetrator could no longer be proven to have committed murder; the statute of limitations had already expired.

On the other hand, I was very moved by the Mark Herbert case. In 2012, he was beaten for no reason after a soccer game and was paralyzed from the neck down. A suspect was identified, but there was no evidence to convict him. The case was on the air in 2015. A call for witnesses by the investigator provided the crucial clue. The suspect was convicted and sentenced to a long prison sentence.

And what type of crime are you particularly concerned about?

From the examples given it is clear that crimes against life and limb always evoke special emotions and are particularly affecting. But I am also concerned, shocked and angry when it comes to brazen scams. Although the police regularly warn against this and "file number XY" repeatedly addresses this issue as part of prevention, many fellow citizens fall for it every day. This mostly affects older people who lose a lot of money, sometimes even their entire savings, as a result of shock calls or grandchild scams.

Were there any funny or even embarrassing moments in front of the camera that you think about now as you say goodbye?

I can't think of much about it. There were certainly some slips of the tongue, some things could certainly have been worded better, but there didn't seem to be anything serious about them. From today's perspective, I would describe my first appearance 20 years ago, which I can still remember well, as embarrassing. I was so nervous and excited that I could barely say a word and my voice was so quiet that no one in the audience could possibly have heard me.

Has “file number XY” changed in the past 20 years? And are there changes in crime and the fight against crime?

The basics, the basic format of “File Number XY”, have not changed in the last 20 years. It's still about solving crimes, arresting criminals and finding missing people.

However, some innovations and adjustments have been made. For example, the “XY special editions”, which are broadcast once or twice a year. These editions are always focused on a specific topic.

The program “Where is my child” dealt exclusively with cases in which minors or young adults were reported missing. The show is now called “Missing” and is dedicated to missing people of all ages.

The topic of "Cold Cases" shows past murder cases that are being taken up and processed again by the police.

The program “Beware of Fraud” is part of the topic of prevention. Viewers are informed and warned about current scams.

There were also some programmatic changes. Since 2005, the show has been broadcast twelve times instead of ten. In 2008 the broadcast time was expanded from 60 to 90 minutes.

Crime is a reflection of social, economic and technical changes and developments. It is therefore clear that crime is also subject to constant change.

The police must constantly face these tasks, always keep an eye on the changing conditions, check their own behavior and find means and methods for countermeasures. A very important and often crucial component of police investigative work is forensic science. There have been enormous advances and improvements in this area in recent decades.

What would you like to say to Rudi Cerne when he says goodbye?

Thank you very much for your support, thank you for always accompanying me confidently through the final survey. I wish you many more successful “XY” programs with high ratings and good educational ratings. Personally, I wish you and your family all the best, especially health.

“Case number XY...unsolved” runs on Wednesday, November 29th at 8:15 p.m. on ZDF

Also read: More than 37 years ago, a young woman was killed in Lower Franconia. To this day the case remains unsolved. Now the investigators are hoping for new clues through a call on the ZDF program “Aktenzeichen XY... unsolved”.