Almost two months after the death of a 23-year-old student in Aschau, Upper Bavaria, the police arrested the alleged perpetrator over the weekend. A young man is suspected of having killed Hanna W. after visiting a club. The woman’s body was recovered from the Prien river on the afternoon of October 3, and since then the police and the public have been puzzled as to who killed the medical student. The case attracted national attention after the investigators asked for information on the ZDF program “Aktenzeichen XY”. Despite the arrest, many questions about the alleged murder remain unanswered. The SZ explains what is certain – and what is not.
What is known about the night of the crime?
The medical student from Hohenaschau visited the Eiskeller club, which is about one kilometer from the family’s home, on the night of October 2nd to 3rd. There she partied with friends before leaving the bar at around 2:30 a.m. to walk home alone. However, she never arrived there, instead she was found dead in the Prien the following afternoon – about ten kilometers downstream in the neighboring community of Prien am Chiemsee.
“What exactly happened between leaving the club and finding her body, we can’t say for tactical reasons at the moment,” police spokesman Stefan Sonntag told SZ. According to current knowledge, the crime scene is halfway between the club and the residential building, at the parking lot of the Kampenwand cable car. After the crime, the police found a ring belonging to the victim. There is also a stream that flows into the Prien shortly afterwards and could have washed the corpse there. The creek flooded that night.
How did Hanna W. die?
According to official information, Hanna W. died as a result of “serious external violence”. Police spokesman Sunday does not want to comment more specifically when asked. He also gave no information about the murder weapon.
Who is the suspect?
Early Friday afternoon, the police arrested a young man from the southern district of Rosenheim. The arrest warrant was for suspicion of murder, as Sunday confirmed. Because the suspect is an “adolescent between the ages of 18 and 21”, the police are reluctant to provide further information and refer to the presumption of innocence. According to consistent media reports, however, the suspect, like the victim, is said to come from Aschau. It is not known what relationship the two had and whether the man also visited the ice cellar on the evening of the crime. The authorities also did not comment on a possible motive.
In the course of the past week, concrete suspicions have arisen, says police spokesman Sunday. The young man is currently in custody. Lawyer Harald Baumgärtl, who was appointed as his public defender on Friday, does not want to give any further details about his client in order to protect him and his relatives from prejudice. There was great dismay in the family at the accusation. According to Baumgärtl, the suspect has not yet commented on the suspicion of murder to the police and the public prosecutor.
What role did the ZDF program “Aktenzeichen XY” play in the arrest?
According to Stefan Sonntag, the decisive clues that led to the arrest last Friday are not related to the TV program on November 9th. In it, Hans-Peter Butz, head of the “Club” special commission, asked for information about a wooden wristwatch that had been found in the area of the alleged crime scene. More than 90 tips were received by the police during and after the broadcast. However, the trail to the suspect emerged after hearing witnesses last week, says Sunday. “The arrest is a result of the great team effort of our Soko.” 50 investigators have been working on the case since the beginning of October.
What about the wooden watch?
The role played by the “Holzkern” watch, which the police found in the stream at the alleged crime scene, has not yet been clarified. So far, it has been one of the investigators’ most important pieces of evidence. “We’re still trying to find out who owned it,” says Sonntag. Was it the suspect’s watch? That was “unresolved,” said the police officer.
What’s next in this case?
The investigators are currently evaluating data carriers and other items that they seized during a search of the suspect’s house. “Soko continues to investigate,” says Sunday. “There are still many things that we need to clarify about the case.” A spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office in Rosenheim said on Monday that the clarification “will certainly take months”.
In any case, in Aschau a kind of sigh of relief can be felt after this weekend. In the comment columns on Facebook, users are relieved that the alleged perpetrator is now in custody – and no longer freely walking around in the 6,000-inhabitant community. “I hope you have the right person,” writes one – and probably speaks to the heart of the police.