Late on Saturday afternoon, the twelve-year-old walks home from a friend. She would have to walk a good three kilometers from the small suburb of Hohenhain down to the main town, Freudenberg in South Westphalia. But she never gets there. The next day, her body is found on an embankment next to a bike path - in the opposite direction from where she originally walked home. Investigators believe she was killed.
On Monday, nothing on the bike path reminds you that a corpse was discovered here the day before. No police cars, no barrier tape, nothing. At the place where the girl was found, there is nothing but forest around. The nearest house is a few hundred meters away. The terrain drops steeply from the bike path.
The body was found near a former train station in Rhineland-Palatinate, right on the border with North Rhine-Westphalia. But this place is not on the girl's way home. Did the 12-year-old accidentally walk in the wrong direction or was she possibly kidnapped? Investigators have not yet given an explanation for this. The Koblenz Criminal Investigation Directorate took over the investigative sovereignty. The authorities of both countries coordinated closely on further measures, it was said on Monday.
"The investigations carried out so far confirm the suspicion that the girl was the victim of a homicide," said a spokesman for the Koblenz public prosecutor's office. An autopsy of the corpse, which should take place on Monday, should now provide information, among other things. There is currently no evidence of a sexual offense. "Investigations are in full swing," said the spokesman. The police and the public prosecutor's office did not initially provide any further information - "for reasons of investigation tactics".
The child was last seen in Freudenberg around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, when he was on his way home after visiting a friend. When the twelve-year-old didn't come home, the search began that evening with strong police and fire brigade forces. Area search dogs and "mantrailer" dogs specializing in people were also used. During the night, a helicopter with a thermal imaging camera flew over the area.
After searching throughout the night, members of a hundred units of the Cologne riot police were added on Sunday morning. The police also released a photo of the child. The body was reported just before 2:00 p.m.
A day later, many questions remain unanswered. And so there is speculation in the city: What happened to her? A man thinks out loud, "What if that was my daughter? What would I do?" At the comprehensive school in Freudenberg, which the girl attended, the school is normal, at least from the outside. Children romp around in the schoolyard during the break and are warned by teachers not to leave the premises. The television crews in front of the site are of particular interest to the schoolchildren in the town of just under 18,000 inhabitants.
Classes took place in the girl's school on Monday, but psychologists offered talks to classmates, as a spokesman for the Arnsberg district government said. This is especially true for the 12-year-old class. On Sunday evening there was a funeral service in the city.
The mayor of the city of Freudenberg, Nicole Reschke, had the flags flown at half-mast on Monday. "We are deeply shaken in Freudenberg and our thoughts are with the relatives. I have ordered mourning flags to be displayed for today," said the SPD politician.