"File number XY...solved!" : New true crime series dedicated to the murder of Johanna

It is September 2, 1999.

"File number XY...solved!" : New true crime series dedicated to the murder of Johanna

It is September 2, 1999. Eight-year-old Johanna from Ranstadt-Bobenhausen in Hesse is playing with other children on the sports field. At some point the other children say goodbye and Johanna is left alone. At 5 p.m. she goes home. But she doesn't arrive at home.

Together with Johanna's sister, the father sets out on a search. You will find your bike near the sports field. But there is no trace of the girl. The father reports his daughter missing. The police and fire brigade are looking for him. The search is called off as darkness falls and continues the next morning with more than 200 police officers. The volunteer fire brigades in the area and friends and relatives also help with the search.

A witness remembers a lowered VW Jetta with a foreign number plate that was near the bike path. With the help of his description, the police created an identikit of an unshaven man with a ponytail. The trail leads to Rick J., a man in Friedrichsdorf near Frankfurt. However, the color of the vehicle does not match the information provided by the witness and J. makes statements to the officers that would have made it impossible for him to actually have been in Bobenhausen.

On April 1, 2000, walkers found the remains of a dead girl in a forest near Alsfeld. It quickly becomes clear: It is Johanna's corpse. At the site, investigators also discover remains of Johanna's clothing and two different types of adhesive tape. A partial fingerprint and traces of fibers are discovered on it. On April 11, 2002, the police invited men from the village and the surrounding area to the community center in Bobenhausen to voluntarily have their handprints taken. The police have to scan and compare more than 800 handprints. But none of the men touched the tape.

Two more series of tests follow. One in April 2005, another in 2007. But they were also unsuccessful.

In 2017, thanks to refined analysis methods, the police were finally able to arrest a suspect. It's 41-year-old Rick J. The man officers had previously targeted because a witness saw his VW Jetta near the scene of the crime. When the officials are in front of his door, he doesn't offer any resistance.

In his completely run-down apartment, the investigators found children's clothing and seven terabytes of data. Ten officials need half a year to forensically evaluate the storage media. The footage showing the sexual abuse of children shocked even experienced investigators. Many are simply unbearable, they say.

Neighbors are surprised by the arrest and describe Rick J. as a polite, nice man who always greets everyone. Johanna's father never received the news of the arrest. He had died a year earlier.

At the station, Rick J. makes a confession, tells how he drugged Johanna, tied it up and put her in the trunk of his car. He later bandaged her face with tape but left her nose exposed. However, because he hit her in the face and probably broke her nose, she is said to have suffocated in the trunk.

As for the motive, he explains that although he sexually abused her, he did not want to kill her. He also claims that the act was not planned, but happened spontaneously. He would have gotten duct tape from the gas station and stole a rope from a paddock on the way. However, the investigators can refute both.

In February 2018, the public prosecutor's office at the Gießen Regional Court brought charges of murder and serious sexual abuse of children. The prosecution is convinced that he intentionally caused Johanna's death. The 15 meters of tape found at the crime scene indicate that he wrapped it around the child's head in several layers, which is why the girl suffocated. In addition, he is accused of owning more than 150 image and video files of child and youth pornography.

The verdict will come in November 2018. Rick J. must be behind bars for life. The jury also convicted him of attempting to sexually assault Johanna and saw the guilt as particularly serious. This would make early release from prison after 15 years legally possible, but practically impossible.

On Friday, August 5th, the Johanna case will be reopened in the new ZDF true crime series "Aktenzeichen XY...solved!" at 9.15 p.m. with Sven Voss. In it, experts and members of the investigative groups of the time have their say.

Watch the video: The revision process in the Silvio S case starts in Potsdam. The report on the convicted child murderer is complete in the star. On 82 pages, it allows deep insights into the character and soul of the man from Kaltenborn.

Sources: "On the trail of a child murderer", ZDF, with material from DPA

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