HERNE, Germany (AP) — Authorities in Herne ordered kindergartens to prevent children from playing outside Wednesday during an ongoing manhunt for a 19-year-old suspect in the slaying of a boy that has shocked this gritty city in Germany’s industrial west.
Police were searching for Marcel Hesse after a tip led to the discovery of the body of a 9-year-old neighbor’s child in the man’s basement. They said Hesse had posted boastful pictures of the boy’s body, clearly showing stab wounds, on a web forum.
A person purporting to be Hesse later claimed online to have tortured and killed a woman too, police said, though so far authorities have found nothing backing the claim.
A lawyer for the victim’s family said they were badly affected by the fact that the suspect was still on the loose, and said Hesse was known for his unusual behavior.
“He was relatively nondescript, never had contact with anybody and used to wear camouflage and military boots,” lawyer Reinhard Peters told The Associated Press.
“He used to swing swords around in the garden, fought with them and conducted strange rituals,” said Peters. “Apart from that people only thought of him as a nut job and withdrawn nobody.”
During their search Wednesday, which included using helicopters with infrared cameras, police put a school in the nearby town of Wetter under lockdown after a passer-by claimed to have seen the suspect. Students had to stay inside their classrooms while police searched the school. After more than six hours the school was declared safe again and students were allowed to go home.