The young Turkish girl, identified by authorities only as Kardelen, was reported missing in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia on January 12. Police said she was apparently sexually assaulted before being suffocated after her body was found on January 15.
“We received tips that the man drove to the Cologne-Bonn airport, where he flew to Izmir,” a police spokesperson said, adding that the 29-year-old man, identified as Ali Kur, left the country with his 26-year-old wife.
German investigators are now working with Turkish authorities to find Kur's whereabouts. An international warrant has been issued for his arrest.
One witness told police that he called him on January 13 asking to be picked up from the Paderborn train station, saying he needed to return to Turkey to visit his ailing father. Authorities have since searched his home and found clues that match those found at the crime scene, head of the investigation Jürgen Heinz said.
Kur was a neighbour of Kardelen's family and has been a resident of Germany since 2001, police said.