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German police seek suspect after girl found dead

June 12, 2024

Police in the German state of Saxony say a homicide investigation is underway after confirming that the body of a missing 9-year-old had been found in woodland.

Police searching in the woodland near Döbeln
Some 400 police officers were involved in the search, as well as residents of nearby DöbelnImage: Robert Michael/dpa/picture alliance

Police on Wednesday confirmed that a body found in woods near the town of Döbeln in the eastern German state of Saxony was that of a 9-year-old girl who had been reported missing.

Police have said the child appeared to have been the victim of a violent crime and that a homicide investigation had been launched. They said the "absolute focus" was now on identifying a perpetrator.

What we know so far

More than 400 police officers from the surrounding region and residents in Döbeln had been involved in the search for the girl.

The head of the Chemnitz Criminal Investigation Department, Mandy Kürschne, said the body had been found: "Away from any forest paths, deep in the undergrowth" in a location about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the girl's home.

According to the public prosecutor's office, the investigation is focusing on the social circles of the girl who was killed.

There was no indication that the girl had been the victim of a sexual crime, said Ingrid Burghart, spokeswoman for the public prosecutor's office in Chemnitz. She said the criminal investigation would focus on suspicion of murder or manslaughter by an as-yet-unknown individual.

The girl is from Ukraine and arrived in Germany with her mother in 2022, settling in Döbeln, about 40 kilometers northeast of Chemnitz.

She was last seen on June 3 on her way to school but did not arrive, and he disappearance became a major news story in Germany.

Her father, who stayed behind in Ukraine, was reportedly in close contact with German authorities.

rc/wmr (dpa, AFP)