The case of Monika Frischholz, who disappeared more than 40 years ago, could be nearing enlightenment. The police are reluctant, but the search continues.
Johann Werner still knows exactly how he has drummed up half of the village. At that time, in May 1976. The firefighters, the shooters, the footballers, all ordered Werner into the center of town and sent them out into the woods and quarries around Flossenbürg. A girl was missing, twelve years old, "everyone wanted to look," says Werner. For several days, the search parties were on the move, always after hours, for hours. At the end of the village, they marched towards the raft. After raft, the girl wanted yes, before his track lost. In Waldkirch, five kilometers away, in a completely different direction, "we did not come up with that idea," says Werner.
Now, almost 43 years later, the police are looking for the body of Monika Frischholz, which disappeared on May 25, 1976: on the edge of a forest near Waldkirch in the Upper Palatinate. "Police find a car wreck" is on the front page of the local newspaper, which is on Tuesday morning at Johann Werner, 79, on the dining table. The photo shows the rusty remains of a green VW Beetle. Is it the murderer's car? Was the car buried to destroy tracks?
The car has "no meaning," says Werner, who was formerly border policeman and until 1999 mayor in Flossenbürg, 21 years. It's just a guess he's voicing. But over the course of Tuesday, there is growing evidence that the car unearthed on Monday actually does not matter much to the investigators who reopened the case last year. You can hear that between the lines when talking to the police. You can see it but also because a police excavator the car wreck on Tuesday afternoon a bit rudely aside. Is that how one deals with evidence? Rather not.
The question is: what has the forensics found in the ditch at the edge of the forest? "A lot of garbage," says police spokesman Florian Beck late Tuesday afternoon. And, he also says that now: "little bones", probably animal bones. "But you can not conclusively judge that," says Beck, that is the task of legal medicine. Also on Tuesday, uniformed policemen shovel and hack in the hole that gets bigger and bigger. In the meantime, there are three excavators around the hole. Again and again men with hard hats cut down trees to create more space for the excavations. At 5.30pm police spokesman Beck says the work is "through this week". But: "It goes on," says Beck, possibly in the coming week.
Will the police find what they are looking for at the edge of the forest? "Everyone is wondering," says Manuela Schreiber, cutting off a thick slice of Leberkäs from her loaf. The 49-year-old wears apron and short hairstyle. She is a saleswoman in the butcher Witt, right next to the Flossenbürger concentration camp memorial. Since Monday noon there is no other topic in the store more, says Schreiber. "This is already rousing people, everyone wants to know what happened, it's really a thriller."
A thriller. That's just fine. There are crime series that deal exclusively with so-called cold cases. With criminal cases that have long been unresolved and therefore have a particularly great fascination. Already last December, when the Kripo Weiden announced to rewind the fresh wood case, much had been said in the butcher's shop, says Manuela Schreiber. In Flossenbürg, almost 1700 inhabitants, "everyone knows everyone".
Her two older brothers had also marched when half the place went off to look for Monika Frischholz, says Schreiber. She was only six years old at the time. But that "a girl has disappeared", she has already noticed. And that her parents have always drunk on her: Never get into the car with strangers! Anyone who is listening to Flossenbürg at the moment knows that more often.
At that time, everyone was sure that Monika Frischholz has climbed into a strange car. The investigators went long from it. On Youtube there is a section of the television program "Aktenzeichen XY …, unresolved" from May 1977. In it is recreated, as Monika Frischholz with two friends through Flossenbürg. She says that she will meet afterwards with the 18-year-old Paul, "he wants to go with me now". In the middle of the village, the paths of the friends separate. Then you can see Monika Frischholz in a raft in a yellow car with the area code "LÜ" rises. At that time there was this mark in Lüdenscheid and Lünen, both cities in North Rhine-Westphalia. An elderly woman had told the police so.
Today, the investigators know: The woman was wrong. The new group of investigators had this "old suspicion cleared up," the police said in January. It has been found a witness who Monika Frischholz had "at the time of their disappearance confused similar." The evidence received after the police reopened the case seems to be valid. It should be several dozen references. There is talk of "valuable new insights". According to SZ information, the investigators knew already before the start of the excavations that a car is underground. Nevertheless, police spokesman Florian Beck tries to dampen expectations on Tuesday a little. No, there was no arrest, he says. And that it could also be "that the excavation work does not lead to any results".
Alfred Faltermeier, on the other hand, is optimistic that the case is nearing enlightenment. Faltermeier, 80, was a class teacher from Monika Frischholz. He remembers exactly how her aunt stood on his doorstep on the morning of May 26, 1976, and said, "Monica is not home." Faltermeier is one of the few people who really remember the girl. Her parents, her siblings, all are dead. Most recently, her younger brother died, two months ago. Also Alfred Faltermeier sits on Tuesday morning at the dining table in his house in Flossenbürg, also on his table is the local newspaper with the photo of the green VW Beetle on the front page. "Now it's cooking," he says. Now it is only a matter of time that "the lid goes up", says Faltermeier. Or better: he hopes it. Everyone hopes that in Flossenbürg, almost 43 years after this thriller started.