Three Germans in crossbow deaths killed by shots to hearts and neck

A police car stands in front of a building where the bodies of two women were found at an apartment in Wittlingen, northern Germany, Monday, May 13, 2019. The women were found in an apartment of one of three people who were found dead on Saturday at a hotel in Passau, several hundred kilometers away, in a mysterious case involving crossbows.


By ALEX HORTON | The Washington Post | Published: May 14, 2019

A hotel worker in southern Germany knocked on a door Saturday morning, and when the guests did not answer, the worker opened up the three-bedroom suite to find a grisly scene.

One woman was dead on the floor near a bed with a crossbow bolt in her neck. Before her, a man and woman were killed with a single bolt each to the heart. They died in an embrace.

The deaths vexed authorities in Bavaria as they raced for clues in what appeared to be a brutal triple slaying in a verdant and tranquil hotel in Passau near the Austrian border, which ultimately would be linked to a pair of deaths hundreds of miles away.

Then, more details emerged Tuesday, as police announced the discovery of wills alongside the couple in the bed and said there appeared to be no signs of struggle — evidence that may point to a murder-suicide pact.

Prosecutors now believe the woman, identified as Farina C., 30, shot the couple first and then herself in a "killing on demand," the Associated Press reported, citing German media.

Police are still investigating whether alcohol or drugs played a role. They said there are still no signs the killings are linked to anyone else. Two crossbows were found at the scene, and a third unused one was found in a bag.

The couple were identified by Agence France-Presse as Torsten W., 53, and Kerstin E., 33.

Two more deaths linked to the incident were discovered after police searched Farina C.'s apartment, about 400 miles away in the city of Wittingen, in Lower Saxony state.

Police found two dead women in the apartment on Monday, Lower Bavaria police said in a statement. Their identities and connections to the victims in Passau, Bavaria, are unknown, police said.

No crossbows or bolts were found at that scene, AFP reported. Investigators are awaiting autopsies to conclude their manner of death.

Few details are known about the trio found dead in the hotel room in Passau. Hotel guests said the women were dressed in black, and Torsten W. wore a "long white beard," the BBC reported, describing their stay as quiet.

It is difficult to obtain firearms in Germany, but anyone over 18 years old can buy a crossbow legally, the AP reported.

Rick Noack in Berlin contributed to this report, which has been updated.

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