The 17-year-old daughter of a businessman has been kidnapped in the Eastern German city of Meissen and a 1.2 million-euro ransom demanded. The story has grabbed nationwide headlines.
A ransom note demanding 1.2 million euros ($1.32 million) emerged following the disappearance of Anneli-Marie R., who has been missing since August 13 after she failed to return from walking her dog in the town of Meissen in Saxony.
The teenager has not been seen since she left her parents' house at around 7.30pm local time that day. A sniffer dog led the police to a nearby yard, and officials searched the land but couldn't find the girl, German newspaper the Sächsische Zeitung reported.
The parents have appealed to the alleged perpetrators in a letter released by the police, writing: “The kidnappers should know that we will fulfill the stipulated demands in order to be able to have our child back in our arms soon.”
The police in Dresden are searching for witnesses who may have seen the girl. Prosecutor Lorenz Haase told the AFP news agency that the police were following about 20 local leads. The DPA news agency reported as many as 50 such clues.
Kidnappings for ransom in Germany
Germany has a long history of kidnapping for ransom, with a recent case in June this year involving the abduction of the mentally-disabled son of one of Germany's richest businessmen, Reinhold Würth, who has an estimated net worth of 6.675 billion euros ($7.4 billion), according to Forbes magazine.
In a separate case in 2010, unknown kidnappers held Maria Bögerl, a wealthy banker's wife, for ransom. But although the 300,000 euro ransom ($332,885) was paid, she was murdered, and the culprits have never been identified.
In 2002, Jakob von Metzler, the 11-year-old son of a banker, was abducted and murdered by Magnus Gäfgen. Gäfgen demanded a one million euro ransom for the boy's release, even though he had already killed him. He was captured by police and is serving a life sentence.
Millionaire businessman Jakub Fiszman was kidnapped and murdered in 1996 despite the payment of a 4 million Deutschmark ransom.
Editor's note: Deutsche Welle is bound by German law and the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.