9-year-old saves his newborn brother from kidnapping

The young boy followed the abductor as she tried to leave the hospital with his baby brother.

9-year-old saves his newborn brother from kidnapping
Photo: DPA

A nine-year old saved his newborn brother from being abducted by a 34-year-old woman at the Mariahilf Hospital in Hamburg on Friday afternoon, reports Die Welt.

“The suspect entered the room of the mother, who was asleep, at the time of the crime, and took the newborn from the bed next to her”, said police spokesperson Ulf Wundrack.

But the mother’s nine-year-old son caught the woman in the act and followed her, as she was heading for the hospital exit.

The boy confronted her while she was still inside the hospital building, and she then handed him the child.

When hospital employees noticed the boy with the baby in his arms, he told them what had happened.

“The 34-year-old was stopped and arrested while she was inside the hospital. She seemed mentally unstable and was handed over to the psychiatric emergency unit”, said Wundrack.

The woman’s motives are still unclear. However, she was already known to police for other offences.

police investigations are ongoing.

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How the chatty robot Franzi is cheering up German patients

Cleaning robot Franzi makes sure floors are spotless at the Munich hospital where she works, and has taken on a new role during the pandemic: cheering up patients and staff.

How the chatty robot Franzi is cheering up German patients
Franzi at the Munich hospital where she works. Photo: AFP/Christof Stache

“Can you move out the way, please? I need to clean,” trills the robot in German when people block her pre-programmed cleaning route.

“You need to move! I really want to clean!” she squeaks at those who still don't get out of the way. And if that doesn't work, digital tears begin to stream from her LED-light eyes.

“Visitors are not allowed in the pandemic, so Franzi entertains the patients a bit,” says Constance Rettler of Dr. Rettler, the company in charge of cleaning the Neuperlach hospital that provided the robot.

READ ALSO: Small talk with Luna: German robots increasingly in contact with customers

Three times a day, Franzi bustles through the clinic's entrance hall, her feet automatically mopping the floors. Amused patients take photos of her, and some even stop to chat to the metre-high robot.

“Ah, there you are my friend,” cries one elderly lady with a drip on her arm upon catching sight of Franzi.

“One of our recent patients came down three times a day to talk to her,” smiles Tanja Zacherl, who oversees hospital maintenance.

Extra employee

Created by a company in Singapore, Franzi was originally named Ella and spoke English before coming to Munich early this year.

Yet her German is perfect as she tells her interviewers that she “never wants to grow up” and that cleaning is her passion.

When prompted, she can also sing classic German pop songs and even rap.

Franzi on the move. Photo: AFP/Christof Stache

Rettler is adamant that the robot is not taking jobs away from real human beings but instead is supposed to “support” her flesh-and-blood colleagues, who have become harder to come by during the coronavirus pandemic.

“With the pandemic, there is lots of extra disinfecting work to be done in hospitals,” says Rettler.

“While Franzi is cleaning the floors, our employees can concentrate on doing that.”

A robot has its limits however. It is still unable to get into tight
corners, and if it hits an obstacle, it bursts into tears and remains stuck until rescued by a human.

Yet Franzi also has a reason to be cheerful. After a test phase of several weeks, she appears to have settled in at the Neuperlach hospital.

Rettler's company has therefore decided to keep her there permanently rather than deploy her elsewhere.

READ ALSO: How robots could shape Germany's political future