This article first appeared on RTL.de.
It could be the lead that not only gets things moving again in the case of Hilal Ercan from Hamburg-Lurup, who has been missing since 1999, but also finally gives the family of the then ten-year-old girl certainty. On a piece of land in Hamburg's Volkspark, a sniffer dog struck during a private search - a sign that he had found human bones. On Thursday (September 29th), the police cleared the property in question.
Since Hilal's disappearance 23 years ago, the Hamburg police have searched the Volkspark several times. Mini excavators and cadaver dogs were used, but without success: the officers could never find Hilal or any traces of her whereabouts.
The only suspect in the case, Dirk A., is a sex offender known to the police. He repeatedly claimed to have killed little Hilal Hilal and buried her in the Volkspark, but always retracted his confessions. He could never be convicted for lack of evidence.
On an Instagram account that Hilal's family and friends created, they report on the new traces in the Volkspark - but also urge the police to resume the search. The family gave all the information to the officials. They began on Thursday morning with the first clearing work on the property in order to prepare it for any subsequent investigations, as a police spokesman confirmed in an interview with RTL. He cited the new information emerging from the recently published NDR documentary as the reason for this work.
According to the Hamburg public prosecutor Liddy Oechtering, the clearing of the property is expected to continue on Friday. Only then can it be checked what further measures the police and public prosecutor's office are still taking. At the moment there are no excavations or taking of soil samples, she explained in an interview with RTL. So the search for Hilal continues.