Suspect released in high-profile German murder case | News | DW | 06.04.2017
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Suspect released in high-profile German murder case

German police have released a man after he was arrested in relation to the murder of banker's wife, Maria Bögerl, seven years ago. A DNA test reportedly failed to find a match with samples found in the victim's car.

On Thursday, hours after German police arrested a man they believed could be responsible for the abduction and murder of Maria Bögerl, the suspect was released. The 2010 death of Bögerl, a bank director's wife from the southern town of Heidenheim, has continued to make headlines in the country for seven years.

The DPA news agency said Germany's investigative police branch, the BKA, had confirmed the arrest on Thursday morning, with a spokeswoman saying that the suspect had been the object of a public manhunt. She however declined to give the identity of the suspect or details of how the arrest took place.

During the night, the BKA tweeted that it had made an arrest in a murder case from 2010, ending a manhunt, and thanked the public for its assistance.

However, a test to find out whether the suspect's DNA matched that found in the victim's car turned out negative, DPA reported later on Thursday. The man has also denied any involvement in the abduction or killing and was later released.

Drunken confession

On May 12, 2010, the 54-year-old Maria Bögerl was abducted from her house, with her kidnapper or kidnappers demanding a ransom of 300,000 euros ($399,000 at the time). The ransom money was delivered to the stipulated location later than agreed, and was not collected. A man then discovered Bögerl's corpse, mutilated with stab wounds, at the edge of a forest near Heidenheim at the start of June.

Deutschland Trauerfeier Maria Bögerl (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Pucher)

Maria Bögerl's murder has baffled police for years

Her husband, who had been suspected of involvement in the murder, committed suicide around a year later.

Police have recently been looking for a man who confessed to the murder, while drunk, before witnesses in the western city of Hagen in July 2016. The man, who was filmed with a mobile telephone during part of his confession, gave concrete details of the murder that led police to believe he may have been telling the truth.

After initially looking for the man using an identikit picture and a voice sample, police on Wednesday made an appeal for information in the interactive program "Aktenzeichen XY ... ungelöst" ("Case file XY ... unsolved"), which aims to solve crimes with the assistance of the public. It was announced at the end of the program on public-service broadcaster ZDF that several people had come forward with information and that concrete investigations into certain people had already begun.

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