Manhunt for suspected German child killer Marcel H. continues | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 09.03.2017
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Manhunt for suspected German child killer Marcel H. continues

A young man suspected of killing his 9-year-old neighbor and posting images of it online is still on the run from police. Investigators have released new information, hoping that witnesses can lead them to Marcel H.

German police released further information on the suspected killer of the 9-year old early in the night to Thursday, saying that the 19-year-old fugitive - who is still at large - could have injured his hand during the crime.

In a statement shared via Twitter, local police said they were looking for witnesses who had spotted a young, slim man "at a hospital, pharmacy or doctor's office seeking treatment for an injury to his right hand."

The police also shared a photo of a dog, who they believe could be connected to the case, asking people who had information on the animal to contact them. 

On Wednesday, the authorities continued a manhunt for suspected child murderer Marcel H. without success.

Police deployed dogs and helicopters with thermal imaging cameras to track down the teenager who is suspected of stabbing to death his 9-year-old neighbor in the town of Herne in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Following a tip-off, they cleared a school in the nearby town of Wetter and searched it for six hours to no avail.

As well as releasing a picture of the suspect, police took the relatively unusual step of releasing his full name, hoping that might provide leads. But in accordance with Germany's media code, which urges outlets not to publish identities of suspects who are yet to be convicted, DW is identifying him only as Marcel H.

Second murder?

Also on Wednesday, police said they were looking into the possibility of a second victim - based on further online bragging from someone claiming to be Marcel H., who said that he had killed a woman to gain access to money and the internet.

In the chat text, published by the police, the user describes how he "combats a 120 kilogram (265-pound) beast" and that "[s]he gave more resistance than the child."

"We take this very seriously, but there is so far no evidence of a missing woman who fits that description," police spokesman Volker Schütte said.

Teddy bears, flowers and candles are laid in front of a house in Herne (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kusch)

People laid tributes to the murdered young boy outside his house

Marcel has been on the run since Monday evening when photos of the crime were posted online by an internet user who claimed to be his friend. He claimed he had attempted suicide, and after that failled, killed his neighbor. German police earlier reported he had shared images of the crime on the darknet, an encrypted corner of the internet also called the dark web which is used by privacy advocatesbut also for criminal activity.

After being alerted, police found the victim's body in the basement of the suspect's home. The suspect was described as unemployed and unsociable, but did not have a criminal record.

A policeman waiting in front of a house in Herne (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kusch)

The young man allegedly posted updates while on the run, saying he had killed again

Could be armed

Police warned the public that Marcel H., who they described as "dangerous," was approximately 1.75 meters (5 foot 9 inches) tall, blond and of slim build. He was thought to be wearing military-style fatigues and could be armed.

Nearby schools and kindergartens took special precautions including keeping children inside and the school of the murdered child bought in emergency counselors and psychologists.

According to the police, autopsy results confirmed that the young boy was killed by several stab wounds.

"There is no evidence of a sexual offense," Schütte said.

Biker gang

German media reported that Herne police had descended on the local chapter of the Bandidos biker gang to stop them joining the hunt for the killer. 

Mass-circulation newspaper "Bild" reported the father of the murdered child was close to the gang.

The gang posted a message on their Facebook page saying police had wasted "precious time" in the search for "the swine."

Daily newspaper "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported Marcel H. rang his neighbor's bell at 6:15 p.m. on Monday and asked the boy to help him to set up a ladder. He then bought the victim to his cellar and stabbed him. Ten minutes later he reportedly sent his chat partner pictures of the crime scene and later sent an audio message saying "I just killed the neighbor's child, do not feel bad."

aw,mb/msh, se (dpa, AFP, AP)

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