The police arrested a 17-year-old in Recklinghausen (North Rhine-Westphalia) on Monday evening, who is said to have killed a woman two years his senior.
According to the public prosecutor and the police, several children discovered the lifeless body of a woman in the yard of an elementary school around 7 a.m. in the morning. "At first it was assumed that the woman would be asleep, but the emergency doctor could only determine that the young woman was dead," said a police spokeswoman for the "Recklinghäuser Zeitung".
To determine the cause of death, the body was autopsied in the Essen forensic medicine department. "There were indications of a violent death by strangulation," authorities said in a statement. A youth from Recklinghausen is under suspicion. The victim and alleged perpetrator knew each other, according to the information.
The police initially gave no information about the background to the crime and a possible motive. A homicide detective is investigating the case.
On site at the elementary school, officials had secured traces by noon, and the body location was cordoned off. Reporters described an "eerie silence" in the schoolyard.
According to the city administration, classes at the Marienschule were canceled on Monday. Emergency chaplains took care of the children. According to the public prosecutor's office and the police, the relatives of the dead were also looked after.
Editor's Note: This article has been extensively updated following the announcement of the youth's arrest.
Sources: Recklinghausen police headquarters (1), Recklinghausen police headquarters (2), "Recklinghäuser Zeitung", news agencies DPA and AFP