The disappearance of German schoolgirl Peggy Knobloch, 9, is known as the 'German Madeleine McCann'. Peggy vanished in broad daylight on the way home from her school in Lichtenberg, Bavaria, in May 2001. Despite one of Germany's largest ever child searches, she was never seen again. Only, now, 15-years on, the mystery of Peggy Knobloch's disappearance may finally be solved. And you won't believe the dramatic twist in the grim tale...
In May 2001, Peggy Knobloch vanished without a trace. She’d last been seen on that day at about 1pm, just 50m from her parents’ house. When the 9-year-old schoolgirl never returned home from school a huge manhunt was launched which soon became German’s biggest missing child search.
A military jet was scrambled, thousands of officers scoured the surrounding area, and police searched as far as Turkey, where her stepfather was from, for clues. But Peggy Knobloch was never found.
In April 2004, despite Peggy’s body not being found, mentally disabled Ulvi Kulac, was convicted of her murder following a highly controversial trial. His conviction was based on a confession made, and then withdrawn, by Kulac, where he admitted to sexually abusing and killing the girl.
The conviction never sat right, with many members of the public, including members of Peggy Knobloch’s family, believing Kulac, who had a mental age of 10, was innocent. Still, he spent 10-years in jail before the case was re-opened, and he was cleared of her murder in 2014.
But what had happened to Peggy Knobloch?
Parallels were drawn between the young Bavarian girl and missing English girl Madeleine McCann, who’d vanished from a Porgtugal holiday resort in May 2007 aged 3.
Then, on 2 July 2016, a mushroom gatherer made a grim discovery. He stumbled across Peggy’s skeletal remains in a forest area – just 9 miles from her home. DNA analysis identified the bones as belonging to Peggy Knobloch.
Police also recovered other items from the tragic girl’s shallow grave – including a piece of cloth. Then, in a bizarre and dramatic twist, forensics found DNA on the cloth. And they had a match.
The DNA belonged to Uwe Boehnhardt – a member of a neo-nazi cell and a mass murderer.
Uwe Boehnhardt had been part of the so-called National Socialist Underground (NSU) cell that allegedly killed eight Greeks, one Turk and a German policewoman.
He’d committed suicide in 2011 alongside side-kick Uwe Mundlos after their cell was discovered by police following a botched bank raid. Beate Zschaepe, the lone survivor of the three-member cell, is currently on trial for her alleged role in the killings. In a further twist, Zschaepe has also told judges she wants to testify about the death of the girl.
The discovery is a major breakthrough in the 15-year-old case.
Yet, why would a neo-nazi kill a little girl? Childrens toys were found among the hate propaganda and murder plans in the gang’s torched hideout. And images of child abuse were allegedly found on Zschaepe’s hard drive.
Was Boenhardt a pervert as well as a racist fanatic? Or was Peggy’s murder part of a political crime?
As the two high profile cases collide and the mystery unfolds, there are sure to be more twists to this tragic and terrifying tale.
But at least the parents of Peggy Knobloch will finally know what happened to their little girl. And finally, they’ll be able to say goodbye.