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CRIME

Parents make plea for missing boy as police follow new clue

Three weeks after an 11-year-old boy disappeared on his way home police say they have a new lead and have renewed their efforts to find him, while his parents appealed to whoever might have him to come forward.

Parents make plea for missing boy as police follow new clue
Photo: DPA

Police officers have been sent to a new area north of Grefrath, North Rhine-Westphalia, where Mirco went missing. Up to 1,000 officers spent two weeks combing the countryside around the small town after he disappeared on September 3.

His bike was found, and later his shirt and trousers, leading detectives to fear he may have been the victim of a crime, and that the perpetrator comes from the area.

“Please give us back our child, or tell us where we can find Mirco,” said his mother Sandra on Saturday in a televised appeal with her husband Reinhard, broadcast on WDR television.

“I know that something bad has happened to Mirco, a mother feels that… I worry about whether he is cold, hungry or is in pain, or calling for me. If the worst has happened, we have to be able to say goodbye and somehow live on.”

Speaking specifically of a perpetrator for the first time, Willy Theveßen, spokesman for the police said, “We hope that the perpetrator is affected by this and gives us an anonymous sign of where we can find Mirco.”

Witnesses say they saw a dark coloured car at the spot where Mirco’s bike was found, while on Friday police took cameras and radar vans to the area and took pictures of all the vehicles driving past.

“With much luck and coincidence perhaps the perpetrator was also photographed,” said another police spokesman.

DAPD/DPA/hc

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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