German police offer reward in case of beheaded homeless man | News | DW | 29.03.2018
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German police offer reward in case of beheaded homeless man

Police have offered a reward for information about the killing of a homeless man who was found beheaded in the city of Koblenz. Police are keen to find out if the former art dealer was involved in a dispute.

Police in the western city of Koblenz on Thursday said they were offering a €10,000 ($12,400) reward for information about the death of homeless man Gerd Straten.

Officers have interviewed more than 100 people since Straten's decapitated body was found in the city's main cemetery on Friday. However, they remain in the dark about what actually happened.

Poster calling for information about the murder in Koblenz (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Ditscher)

Police are keen to establish who Straten knew and whether he had any disputes with others

"There is no hot lead at the moment," said a police spokesman. 

The act was said to have been "extraordinarily brutal and inhumane," prosecutor Rolf Wissen told reporters. "It went so far that the victim's head was severed."

Police are offering the reward for information that would help them solve the case, such as information about the 59-year-old Straten's contacts, possible disputes, and anything unusual that might have been noticed by potential witnesses within or close to the cemetery. 

Straten, who was originally from Cologne, was said to have slept in a remote part of the graveyard overnight for several years, having moved to Koblenz in 1979. He had an art business until the mid-1990s when it closed and he subsequently became homeless.

Read more: Poverty, homelessness on the rise despite German affluence

Although Straten spent his nights in the cemetery and his days near to the city's main train station, he was described as typically being very well-groomed and keen not to be perceived as having no home.

Straten was said to be reserved, friendly and well-educated by those who knew him. He held a driver's license and would regularly hire cars to travel to events like music festivals, where he would collect bottles to claim cash deposits.

Straten was said to have regularly been seen at organic markets, cafés and libraries.

Read more: Europe faces growing homeless population as housing costs soar

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rc/sms (dpa, AFP)

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