Case 178

The Woman Without a Face

Between 1993 and 2009, over 40 crime scenes across Germany, Austria, and France were linked by DNA from one offender. It belonged to a woman of eastern European descent. Known as ‘The Woman Without a Face’, investigators were stumped as to who this woman might be. Her crimes ranged from petty theft to murder, but police were always one step behind her.

After her DNA was linked to the murder of Heilbronn police officer, Michele Kiesewetter, The Woman was renamed ‘The Phantom of Heilbronn’.

But who was this dangerous woman and what was her motive? It turned out that German police were looking far and wide for someone who was right under their noses the entire time.  

Meanwhile, a neo-Nazi terrorist organisation called the National Socialist Underground were on a murderous rampage throughout Germany, targeting those of Turkish origin. It wasn’t until a chilling DVD was sent to media outlets that the NSU were unravelled and links to ‘The Woman without a Face’ were discovered.

CREDITS

 

Casefile Presents

 

EPISODE:

Research – Holly Boyd

Writing – Jessica Forsayeth

Creative direction – Milly Raso

Narration – Anonymous Host

 

MUSIC:

‘Flatline intro’ and ‘Come play with me’ intro and outro – www.dl-sounds.com

Audio production – Mike Migas 

Music –Mike Migas and Andrew Joslyn

 

OTHER:

Logo and website design – Paulina Szymanska

RESOURCES

 

NEWS ARTICLES

Mystery of Phantom solved? – The Stern

Phantom of Heilbronn never existed – News von Morgen (via wayback machine)

‘Woman without a face’ leaves German police in the dark – Sydney Morning Herald

Hunt for Woman without a face – Mirror

The Phantom of Heilbronn – Crime Magazine

The hunt for the Phantom of Heilbronn – Berliner Morgenpost

Police murder – what does the Phantom have to do with the nursing assistant? – Stimme

Traces of blood from an invisible woman – Sueddeutsche

Police are investigating new leads to the phantom – Spiegel Panorama

Austrian Police pulled in cotton swabs weeks ago – Spiegel 

Germany’s Phantom serial killer: a DNA blunder – Time 

Killer Phantom vanishes into thin air – Neue Press

That should not have happened – Spiegel

The mystery of the Phantom of Heilbronn – ISO

40 clues, but not a hot lead – Schwartzwalder Bote

Departure of Phantom hunter Spiegel

NSU, the neo-Nazi group that forced Germany to confront its racist demons – Haaretz

Germany’s new old problem, the rise of neo-Nazism – The Atlantic

The many faces of neo-Nazism – DW

Beate Zschäpe given life in German neo-Nazi murder trial – BBC

NSU – what you need to know about Germany’s neo-Nazism terror group DW

Wrestling with invisible attackers in the Mullerthal region – time comes for everyone – RTL Today

The incredible – Taz archive

Neo-Nazi attack survivior: “I won’t stay silent” – DW

A brief history of German neo-Nazi group NSU – AP News

The neo-Nazi murder trial revealing Germany’s darkest secrets – Guardian

The chilling neo-Nazi trial that exposed the dark side of a new Germany – New Republic

New facts, new questions – BR

New evidence in murder of German police officer by far-right – World Socialist Website

German neo-Nazi Beate Zschaepe sentenced to life for NSU murders – Guardian

Michele Kiesewetter – Forgotten victims of right-wing violence

DNA of neo-Nazi terrorist Böhnhardt found near remains of murdered girl Peggy – DW

Germany: Suspect confesses to transporting corpse of missing girl Peggy DW

 

 

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