Neuschwanstein castle seen from Marienbruecke
Bildrechte: dpa-Bildfunk/Frank Rumpenhorst

Female tourist dies after attack near Neuschwanstein castle in Germany

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Attack near Neuschwanstein: What we know so far

One woman died, her friend is in the hospital with multiple injuries. An American, most likely a tourist, allegedly pushed them down a cliff near the popular tourist attraction Neuschwanstein castle in Germany. Many questions remain unanswered.

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According to the prosecutors in Kempten (Bavaria), on Wednesday afternoon a 30-year old US-citizen appears to have pushed two women, aged 21 and 22 down a steep slope at the edge of Marienbruecke close to the famous Neuschwanstein castle, after having attempted to sexually assault them. The women fell about 50 meters into the Poellat-ravine. The 21-year-old was seriously injured and died overnight in the hospital. The 22-year old suffered a head-laceration, bruises and abrasions, authorities said. The alleged assailant was taken into custody.

Man possibly charged with murder, attempted murder and sexual assault

Prosecutors assume the American is currently visiting Germany as a tourist. The suspect is being investigated for murder, attempted murder and sexual assault. Regarding the latter Prosecutor Thomas Hoermann stressed in an interview with Bayerischer Rundfunk: „We have to wait what investigators will find. We cannot offer incriminatory information at this point“. According to the police the suspect has made a statement to the custodial judge. His statement has not been made public.

Mayor of Schwangau: "Whole village is deeply affected"

The mayor of the village of Schwangau, Stefan Rinke, expressed his sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families. In an interview with Bayerischer Rundfunk he said: „We feel enormous grief. The whole village is deeply affected, because we’ve never experienced anything like it.“ Rinke doesn’t expect repercussions for Schwangau or tourism. „We are talking about a single perpetrator and a single offense. It is tragic, but it will not have consequences for Schwangau or our security situation. People who come here won’t notice that anything happened here."

Slow response to call for witnesses

Police are looking for witnesses who might have seen the attack happening or anything suspicious prior to it. Police are also asking visitors of Neuschwanstein to upload any photos or videos they may have taken on June 14 to a website of the Bavarian police department. The material could still be helpful to the investigators, even if the alleged attacker or one or both women are only seen anywhere in the background. Holger Stabik of the regional police department stated, that police have only received about a dozen files, such as photos or videos, so far. They have yet to be analyzed.

Police are hoping for more responses when foreign media outlets publish the call for witnesses. Many tourists especially from abroad might not even have heard about the crime yet, says Stabik.

What prosecutors think happened

The incident took place on Wednesday afternoon. Two women were on Marienbruecke, a bridge over a gorge close to Neuschwanstein castle that offers a famous view. There the hikers met the 30-year-old American. He then lured them to a path hidden from public view. That’s where he attempted to sexually assault the 21-year-old woman. When her 22-year-old friend tried to intervene, the suspect choked her and pushed her down the 50-meter-drop. Then he pushed the 21-year-old down the same slope.

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