Police chiefs have created a new squad to discover what happened to the five-year-old known as ‘Germany’s Maddie’ after she disappeared nearly eight years ago.
Blonde blue-eyed Inga Gehricke disappeared during a family barbecue in a forest near Stendal, Saxony-Anhalt state.
The shocking case happened eight years after Madeleine McCann’s disappearance from her family’s hotel room in Praia da Luz, Portugal.
Now Tamara Zieschang – the Lower Saxon Interior Minister – has revealed a new squad of investigators has been formed to crack the Inga case.
Stung by criticism that previous efforts have not turned up a single new clue, she declared a new shake-up to “reorganise the case management.”
The Christian Democratic Union Minister said: “Police in Halle (Saale) will support Stendal police.
“This step is part of a reorganisation of the case management after years of investigations without any results.”
Local media reported on 25th April that the new investigators will be part of a team dedicated to ‘crimes against life’.
She did not, however, say how many officers the unit will consist of.
The decision comes on the back of immense criticism of police over a string of blunders.
Berlin-based lawyer Steffen Tzschoppe, who represents Inga’s family, told politicians in February that 1,900 pages of investigation files on the activities of a convicted paedophile had simply disappeared.
And earlier this year, it emerged that police had found a sex doll in a convicted paedophile’s abandoned house that they bizarrely revealed resembled Inga.
Investigators then checked on a new lead that linked her disappearance with convicted paedophile Martin H., 41, from Berlin.
Lawyer Tzschoppe told the Bild newspaper: “He originally comes from near Stendal, not far from Wilhelmshof [district], where Inga disappeared.”
The lawyer claimed authorities have a 1,900-page file on the offender, who is already serving prison for previous sexual abuses of children.
The officers were reportedly puzzled when they rushed inside the offender’s ruined house in the area of Scheuder, near the town of Dessau, Saxony Anhalt, and found bricked windows, soundproof doors and countless mattresses placed inside a basement dungeon.
The dungeon could only be reached through a hatch estimated at 40 by 40 centimetres (15.7 by 15.7 inches) in size, police reported. They additionally discovered full bondage kits and BDSM toys for women.
Later on, during their search of his Berlin flat, they found silicone sex dolls, one of which reportedly bore a striking resemblance with then-five-year-old Inga.
Tzschoppe said: “In May 2015, shortly after Inga’s disappearance, this offender used an excavator on his property.”
Martin H. had reportedly also dismantled his car on the property at the same time, claimed the lawyer.
Unwilling to reveal too many details, he added: “The Stendal investigators dropped the trail because they believed the man’s alibi. In my opinion, however, the alibi is very doubtful.”
Tzschoppe pointed out the mistakes in the previous investigations and revealed that detectives hadn’t analysed the paedophile’s extensive file yet for further possible links.
He claimed that they reportedly stopped further examinations after only 11 days of investigations in 2019.
Also, in 2019, a high-ranking police officer allegedly admitted not having any experience with homicide cases after he had been appointed the head of a new special unit assembled to solve her disappearance.
And Christian Brueckner, a suspect in the McCann case, is reportedly also considered to have been involved in the disappearance of Inga.
At the time of her disappearance, 43-year-old Brueckner lived in a caravan at the site of an abandoned factory in Neuwegersleben around 68 miles from where Inga vanished.
Brueckner has been linked to a series of child abductions and murders in Portugal and Germany.
He is in jail in Kiel, in the German state of Schlweswig-Holstein, for drug-dealing, and is appealing against a conviction for the 2005 rape of a woman near the Praia da Luz resort where McCann went missing.
Despite many years of police investigations and appeals to the public with a reward of EUR 25,000 (GBP 22,150) for any useful information leading to her whereabouts, Inga has never been found.
The new investigation into the case of Inga continues.
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Story By: Thomas Hochwarter, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
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