Zschäpe made a dramatic getaway on November 4th, 2011, when she learned that Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt were dead, leaving her the last surviving core member of the far-right terror group National Socialist Underground (NSU).
After setting light to the trio’s shared house in Zwickau, she went on the run for four days until giving herself up to police on November 8th. Until now investigators had puzzled over where she had been – above all where she had got the clean, non-petrol-covered clothes she was wearing when taken into custody.
Now investigators believe they have solved the mystery, with evidence growing that Zschäpe’s close friend Susann E. took her in and provided her with a change of clothes, according to Focus news magazine on Monday, which cited sources within the state prosecutor’s office.
Key evidence is apparently a brown all-weather jacket Zschäpe was wearing when she entered police custody. Investigators told the magazine they had verified that Susann E. had owned such a jacket, but when they recently searched E’s flat it was nowhere to be found.
“It seems reasonable to suppose that Mrs E. gave her jacket to Zschäpe,” the unnamed investigator told the magazine. Witnesses said Zschäpe was seen leaving the burning building wearing a red coat, which has still not been found.
Further evidence were the shoes which Zschäpe was wearing on arrest, which according to Focus bore traces of Susan E.’s DNA on the heel, tongue and laces.
The report confirms an article in Der Spiegel magazine earlier this month which claimed investigators now suspected Susann E. not only for supporting a terrorist organisation, but also for perverting the course of justice.
The 31-year-old suspected accomplice is the wife of Andre E., one of the defendants who will stand trial along with Zschäpe in Munich from May 6th. Andre E. is thought to have helped the NSU carry out a nail-bomb attack in Cologne.
The couple is also believed to have rented vehicles on the group’s behalf and supplied them with fake IDs.
The NSU is accused of killing eight ethnic Turks, a Greek man and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007. Zschäpe is charged as an accessory to the murder of 10 people and four others, including Andre E., will face the same charge, though not in all ten cases.
The others have been named as Carsten S., Holger G., who faces three charges of accessory to murder, and former National Democratic Party functionary Ralf Wohlleben.