Woman killed in violent hotel room ‘exorcism’

Police have arrested five relatives of a woman found beaten and choked to death in what appears to have been a violent "exorcism" in Frankfurt on Saturday.

Woman killed in violent hotel room 'exorcism'
The woman's battered body was found in Frankfurt's Intercontinental Hotel on Saturday. Photo: DPA.

The bruised body of a 41-year-old woman was found by staff at Frankfurt's InterContinental Hotel on Saturday morning, a spokesperson for the Frankfurt prosecutor's office told The Local.

Police arrested five family members of the woman in connection with her death, which officials suspect occurred during an attempted exorcism.

“This isn't something that happens often at all,” the prosecutor's office spokesperson told The Local.

“It's an extremely unusual case.”

Currently in custody are a 44-year-old woman, her son (21), daughter (19) and two 15-year-old boys – one of whom was reportedly the victim's son.

The five are reportedly from South Korea and arrived in Hesse six weeks prior.

The suspects are reported to have tied the woman to the bed and beaten her in the stomach and chest for several hours, prosecutors told DPA on Wednesday.

To stifle her screams, they stuffed a towel into her mouth, causing the woman to eventually suffocate.

The suspects gave information leading to the discovery of the second woman, who was suffering from hypothermia and severe dehydration.

Police found her in a house rented by the suspects in Sulzbach, Hesse.

The home in Sulzbach where the group's alleged second victim was found. Photo: DPA

The 44-year-old woman reportedly talked about an exorcism during initial questioning.

It's not yet clear which religion the suspects and victims belong to, or whether the group was acting on a request from the victim herself, prosecutors said.

Reporting and writing by Hannah Butler

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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.