SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

Mystery of missing teenager found in suspected paedophile’s cupboard grips Germany

The case of a missing 15-year-old boy found in a closet at the flat of a suspected paedophile has gripped Germany – but the boy's mother says she just wants to celebrate Christmas with her son.

Mystery of missing teenager found in suspected paedophile's cupboard grips Germany
The house in Recklinghausen where the boy was found. Photo: DPA

Marvin had been missing for over two years when he was found hiding in a cupboard last Friday as police searched the home of a 44-year-old man suspected of distributing child pornography.

The shocking discovery in the western town of Recklinghausen, north of Dortmund, has drawn comparisons to two shocking cases in Austria – of Natascha Kampusch, who was held by her kidnapper for eight years before she managed to escape in 2006; and of Elisabeth Fritzl, who was kept in a cellar and repeatedly raped by her father Josef in an ordeal that lasted 24 years.

Marvin, who disappeared after saying goodbye to his carers at a youth shelter early on June 11th, 2017, is currently in psychiatric care.

“I want to visit him for Christmas, to celebrate a little with him,” his mother Manuela B., 53, told Germany's best-selling tabloid Bild.

A police spokesman on Monday said the decision on when Marvin can go home “is up to the doctors, not the police”.

Many questions remain answered in the case that German media have dubbed an “Advent miracle” – including how the boy ended up at the flat and if he could have left at any time.

The 44-year-old suspect at whose flat Marvin was found has been arrested and charged with a serious sexual offence.

Prosecutors in Bochum on Monday said the man already had a 2018 conviction for possessing child pornography but was only given a ten-month suspended sentence.

The boy was already staying with the man at that point as he is understood to have lived at the flat for “at least two years”, chief prosecutor Christian Kuhnert told DPA news agency.

What exactly happened in the first months after the child's disappearance “is still being looked into”, he added.

TV appeal

Police said in a statement that the officers who discovered him “did not see any indications at that point that he was being held against his will”.

But Marvin's mother, who was briefly reunited with her son on Friday, doubted he was there entirely out of free will.

Photo: DPA

“The man whose place they found him at must have manipulated him,” she told Bild.

“I could go crazy thinking about what's been done to him.”

She said Marvin was found wearing the same clothes as on the day he vanished, and said he looked like “a broken old man”.

“He now needs to process what's happened over the past two and a half years. This is all so painful.”

His stepfather Michael B. told the RTL broadcaster he believed the boy hadn't stayed at the flat voluntarily, adding that Marvin “didn't talk much” when he saw his mother.

Marvin was 13 when he was living in a care home for young people, reportedly after he had trouble processing the death of his father.

After the investigation into his disappearance had gone cold, Marvin's mother and sister made a fresh appeal for information in the TV show “Aktenzeichen XY” in July, which tries to solve missing cases.

But in the end the boy's discovery appeared to be entirely coincidental.

Marvin's mother told Bild she already knows what she will give her son for Christmas.

“I want to give him new clothes.”

Michelle Fitzpatrick

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

SHOW COMMENTS