Man stands trial 27 years after suffocating girl in box

Man stands trial 27 years after suffocating girl in box
A police reproduction of the box Ursula Hermann died in. Photo: DPA
A 58-year-old man faced trial in an Augsburg court on Thursday for the gruesome death of a young girl some 27 years ago.

In September 1981, Ursula Hermann, a 10-year-old student from Eching am Ammersee was found suffocated in a box that had been hidden in a wooded area.

The accused was arrested in May 2008 and is charged with blackmail and kidnapping with fatal consequences. His wife and alleged accomplice will also face trial, the state prosecutor said. The couple denies the charges.

Authorities believe that the couple planned the kidnapping in advance in hopes of getting the equivalent of €1 million in ransom money. On September 15, 1981 the man pulled Ursula Hermann from her bicycle as she rode home and spirited her into the woods.

The girl accidentally suffocated in the box the man put her in because it was not ventilated, the court says. Her parents received two letters and calls requesting ransom, but when her parents reported the girl missing, the kidnappers broke contact. The girl’s body was found 19 days later buried in the box.