Legendary murder investigator: Josef Wilfling is dead

Josef Wilfling worked for the Munich Homicide Commission for 22 years, including helping to solve the murders of Walter Sedlmayr and Rudolph Moshammer.

Legendary murder investigator: Josef Wilfling is dead

Josef Wilfling worked for the Munich Homicide Commission for 22 years, including helping to solve the murders of Walter Sedlmayr and Rudolph Moshammer. His expertise was in demand, even long after he had retired. Now perhaps the best-known murder investigator in Germany has died.

The longtime Munich homicide detective Josef Wilfling is dead. The former head of the Munich homicide squad, also known for his books, died on Tuesday after a serious illness at the age of 75. This was confirmed by the head of the Bavarian Criminal Police Office, Harald Pickert, who was a close friend of his, citing Wilfling's widow.

Wilfling became known nationwide, among other things, through the successful investigations into the murders of popular actor Walter Sedlmayr and fashion designer Rudolph Moshammer. He and his team also tracked down the serial killer Horst David. However, he drew criticism for his behavior in the case of the actor Günther Kaufmann. He was also on the wrong track with the NSU murder series and concentrated his investigations on organized crime.

"He had an incredibly good feeling for the situation and the people," said Pickert in retrospect. "He was a good listener and always let people talk a lot. And, of course, a great knowledge of human nature, that absolutely distinguished him as an investigator, and that he was very persistent and didn't give up. He lived for the job."

But he was also privately a person who took good care of his fellow human beings, said Pickert, who worked in a team with Wilfling for around a decade. He said goodbye to his friend with one of the highest praises in Upper Bavaria: "He was a very fine person."

The head of the crime festival in Munich, Sabine Thomas, also deeply regretted the loss. "He was an incredibly good observer, a very good judge of human nature. He liked people and saw through them very, very quickly, that was probably his recipe for success," she said of Wilfling, who was also the festival's patron. "And he had this wonderful manner, you would have entrusted everything to him immediately, he could have become a priest."

(This article was first published on Wednesday, August 03, 2022.)

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