At the weekend there was sad certainty: 14-year-old Ayleen is dead. Her alleged killer is a 29-year-old man. Investigators suspect a sex crime. But some questions are still open.
Where is Ayleen? For a long time, fear and concern for the missing 14-year-old girl from Gottenheim resonated in the question - but also hope that she would be found safe in the end. The police are looking for the student with high pressure for more than a week. Without success. Last Friday, sad certainty prevailed: Ayleen is dead. Her body is found in a lake in Hesse, 300 kilometers from her home town. A 29-year-old man is an urgent suspect. But why did Ayleen have to die? What is known about the case so far:
On the evening of July 21, Ayleen A. leaves her parents' house in Gottenheim near Freiburg at around 6 p.m. to visit a friend for a short time. But the 14-year-old never returns. For days, police officers, experts and volunteers meticulously combed the area around Gottenheim in Baden-Württemberg in search of the girl. Helicopters and several sniffer dogs are also in action.
The investigators are also following up countless tips from the public. Possible witnesses are also being sought. The police are investigating in all directions. Despite all efforts, Ayleen is not found alive.
With the help of mobile phone tracking and technical surveillance, investigators finally found the body of the 14-year-old girl last Saturday. It is found in Teufelsee near Wetterau north of Frankfurt am Main, hundreds of kilometers from Gottenheim. The lake, which is difficult to access because of its overgrown shore, is located in a nature reserve near Bad Nauheim.
According to investigators, it is still unclear how the 14-year-old died. The fact that the body was in the water for several days made the work of the forensic doctor more difficult, said the head of the public prosecutor's office in Freiburg, Dieter Inhofer, at a press conference. A first autopsy did not provide any precise information on this. A toxicological study is still pending.
The investigators already suspect who is said to have killed her: A 29-year-old man from Hesse with a criminal record is now in custody. As confirmed by the Freiburg police, investigators arrested the man in Frankfurt. He is accused of abduction of minors, sexual assault and murder with intent to cover up.
The 29-year-old is no stranger to the authorities. According to the investigators, he came to a psychiatric hospital as a teenager in 2007 for an attempted sexual offense. The stay ended in 2017. Until recently, he was in a program for recidivist sex offenders, as the President of the Hessian State Criminal Police Office, Andreas Röhrig, explains in Freiburg. "The management supervision was finally ended on January 25 of this year. After five years, that's the norm here in Hesse," says Röhrig. At the same time, the man was released from a program for sex offenders, which aims to ensure their resocialization and reduce the risk of recidivism. "But he continued to take part in an integration program for intensive offenders," explains the LKA president.
The suspect initially denied the allegations and is now silent. The investigating Freiburg public prosecutor Franziska Scheuble says there is an urgent suspicion of a sexual offence. She is unable to provide any further information at this time due to the ongoing investigation.
The suspect is said to have been in contact with 14-year-old Ayleen for weeks before the alleged crime. According to the information, the investigators have to evaluate huge amounts of data on communication in social media and an online game. "The big social networks are involved and a game, 'Fortnite', is one of the biggest online games currently available in the world," says Röhrig. It is not yet clear whether the man hid his identity from the girl.
According to the investigators, Ayleen will be taken to Hesse by car on July 22nd. After that, the suspect apparently stayed at a campsite until July 27. Two days later, Ayleen is found dead in the Teufelsee in Hesse. Whether Ayleen was already dead when she was taken there or whether she voluntarily went with the suspect is part of the pending investigation. "We don't yet know the actual crime scene in this case," says senior public prosecutor Thomas Hauburger.
In the home of the student and at the distant place of discovery in Hesse, sadness and horror prevail. "The worst that can happen in such a case has happened. The whole of Gottenheim is in shock," says Mayor Christian Riesterer. Everyone knows everyone in their village. The people of Gottenheim laid flowers and candles in front of the town hall in memory of the girl.
A Catholic pastor in Gottenheim told the "Bild" newspaper: "Ayleen was baptized in our church." A place was created for her next to the altar, where the whole community could mourn for her and pray for the girl. "No one is left alone in their pain."