In the case of a six-year-old boy who was found dead in the Kitzbüheler Ache in St. Johann in Tirol at the end of August last year, there is a surprising turnaround: the 38-year-old father of the child was arrested Monday morning on suspicion of murder, according to the Innsbruck public prosecutor with and confirmed online media reports from the “Tiroler Tageszeitung” and the Tyrol edition of the “Kronen Zeitung”. The suspect denied the crime.
A decision on the imposition of pre-trial detention was pending, this must be made by Thursday evening at the latest. There is an urgent suspicion that the man had faked a robbery, the prosecution said. The previously assumed facts were that the father of the mentally handicapped child had previously been knocked unconscious by an unknown person with a bottle on a promenade next to the Ache. After that, the six-year-old is said to have climbed out of the stroller on his own, fallen into the river and drowned there. However, this robbery is said not to have taken place and instead there is an urgent suspicion that the father is responsible for the boy’s death.
bottle in the stroller
The father was apparently targeted by the investigators mainly because he is said to have carried the bottle with which he was allegedly knocked down in the stroller, the APA learned. This had obviously already been recognizable on a video image. He also threw his cell phone in a trash can. The injuries could not be reconciled with the crime either. In addition, according to media reports, the pedometer on the cell phone was not inactive at the right time and the man was only able to describe the alleged robber in more detail during the second interrogation.
Public prosecutor spokesman Hansjörg Mayr told the APA, with reference to the ongoing investigation, that the findings that ultimately led to the arrest would not be commented on. In any case, the results of the investigation would have shown that the alleged robbery should not have taken place. Further investigative approaches in the direction of a possibly existing robber would currently no longer be pursued.
Lawyer: “Unfounded evidence”
In previous interrogations, the 38-year-old denied the suspicion of murder and stuck to his previous account, the prosecution said. His lawyer Hubert Stanglechner told APA that his client “resolutely and as completely absurd” rejects the police’s claim that he threw his son into the flood-prone Kitzbüheler Ache. There is no evidence of this, his client was “shocked and deeply dismayed”. The boy, who was suffering from Syngap Syndrome, has recently started to improve. According to the defender, it was also possible to achieve a very good support situation.
With regard to the results of the evidence, the lawyer referred to a report by the Federal Criminal Police Office in the Tyrolean edition of the “Kronen Zeitung”, according to which it could not be determined that the alleged bottle in the pram was actually one. The reasons for detention put forward would by no means even begin to apply. The defender saw no justification for the imposition of pre-trial detention, as he explained to the “Tiroler Tageszeitung”.
The case made headlines for weeks last year. A feverish search was made for the alleged robber, but there was apparently never a concrete, hot lead. So far, one had assumed a diametrically opposite fact: the father is said to have walked with his boy in a pram on August 28, a Sunday, at 4 a.m. on the promenade in the market town in the Kitzbühel district next to the Ache. The fact that the man was out with the boy at this time was “quite normal behavior” and nothing unusual, the State Criminal Police Office said. The man stated that he often did this to calm his mentally handicapped child.
Cell phone and wallet found near the crime scene
Suddenly the alleged perpetrator approached the father from behind in the area of the main school jetty and gave him a targeted and powerful hit on the back of the head with a bottle. The local remained unconscious. Cell phone and wallet were eventually found in the immediate vicinity of the crime scene.
According to the original version, the six-year-old climbed out of the stroller on his own and fell into the river. The child was aborted and finally found dead around 600 meters downstream. Ultimately, the father was found unconscious by a passer-by.
The man later recalled seeing an unidentified man an hour before the attack. The parents were looking for possible witnesses. The two offered a reward of 30,000 euros for crucial information.