1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Germany: Teenager missing for 2 years found in closet

December 22, 2019

The teenager was found in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia during a house search. According to the police, there is no evidence that the boy was detained against his will.

Police van in front of house in Recklinghausen
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kusch

A 15-year-old boy who had been missing for two years was found in the home of a suspected pedophile on Friday, German police said.

Authorities in Recklinghausen, 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Cologne, said police officers were conducting investigations at the home of the 44-year-old suspect when they came across the youngster hiding inside a closet.

Read more: Convicted murderer Jens Söring returns to Germany from US

A police statement said that "there is currently no indication the boy was held in the apartment against his will."

The teenager was subsequently taken into police protection.

His disappearance from a shelter in 2017 was reported by social workers but efforts to find the boy, until now, had been to no avail.

Suspect's father also arrested

A judge ordered 44-year-old man to remain in custody on suspicion of carrying out serious sexual crimes. Authorities seized electronic devices from his home.

Read more: Germany's backlog in its battle against organized crime

In addition, his 77-year-old father, who also lives at the property in the city of Recklinghausen, was arrested but later released.

Mother speaks out

The boy's mother told Bild tabloid that she hardly recognized her child when they met, describing him as looking like "a broken old man."

"The man with whom he was found must have manipulated Marvin," she said of the boy. "I could go crazy thinking about the things done to him." 

cw,jsi/ng (AFP, dpa, AP)

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.