Home > German police arrest suspected kidnapper of refugee child

German police arrest suspected kidnapper of refugee child

Muhammad Januzi was separated from his mother and siblings outside the city's main refugee registration center. PHOTO: AFP

Muhammad Januzi was separated from his mother and siblings outside the city’s main refugee registration center. PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN: German police on Thursday arrested a man suspected of kidnapping a four-year-old refugee, and said they found the body of a child in his car.

The body was likely that of the missing Bosnian boy named Mohamed, prosecutor Michael von Hagen said, adding that an autopsy was ongoing to confirm that. The corpse was packed in cat litter and appeared to have been dead for some time.

“According to what the suspect has said so far, (the body) should be that of the missing child,” said von Hagen.

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The child had been missing since October 1, when his mother took him and his sisters to Berlin’s main refugee registration centre known as Lageso which receives hundreds of asylum seekers daily.

The family has been living in Germany for more than a year, and had been granted asylum, and the mother had gone to the registration centre that day to obtain her social allowances.

Police subsequently issued CCTV footage of a slim bearded man leading the child, who had a stuffed toy in one hand, away. In addition to a reward of 10,000 euros ($11,000) offered by police for any leads, two private individuals also each put up 5,000 euro rewards.

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Police finally arrested the suspect, 32, after they were tipped off by his own mother. ”She said her son confessed to her that he had something to do with the kidnapping,” said von Hagen.

Investigators would not give details of the suspect’s possible motive, but von Hagen said there were no indications at the moment that it was linked to xenophobia or a sex crime.

On Friday, the suspected kidnapper and killer of a four-year-old Bosnian refugee has admitted to murdering another child, police said.

“The man confessed overnight that he had also killed Elias,” said Berlin police spokesman Stefan Redlich.

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The six-year-old German boy had been missing since July and sources said his body has been found in a garden allotment following the suspect’s confession.

As Germany gears up to receive up to one million asylum seekers this year, Berlin’s Lageso has seen lengthy queues of migrants waiting to be registered and often chaotic scenes.

Fights have broken out at the centre among migrants frustrated by the long waits and a lack of information filtering down from authorities.

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