Police expand search near Ramstein Air Base for man suspected of killing his mother, her partner
March 10, 2021
Update: Here's the latest news on this case, as of noon (CET) Thursday, March 11.
A German man suspected of killing his mother and her partner in their Weilerbach home remained at large Wednesday as police expanded their search in neighboring villages near Ramstein Air Base.
Daniel Mentel, 38, is wanted in connection with the killing of a man, 65, and Mentel's mother, 60, who were found dead Tuesday morning in a residential building, Kaiserslautern police said.
Preliminary autopsy results found “that the death of the two victims was caused by violence — but not by gunshot wounds," Rheinland-Pfalz police said in a statement Wednesday.
The search for Mentel extended eastward Wednesday night to Sambach, an area between the villages of Katzweiler and Otterbach, Kaiserslautern police said on Twitter. They asked residents there to stay in their homes and warned drivers to avoid the area.
Police earlier searched eight villages near Ramstein Air Base, including Weilerbach, Schwedelbach, Rodenbach, Reichenbach-Steegen, Mackenbach, Kollweiler, Eulenbis and Erzenhausen, Kaiserslautern police spokesman Bernhard Christian Erfort said Wednesday.
The area has a population of about 14,000, including many Americans affiliated with the U.S. military at Ramstein and other bases in Kaiserslautern.
A search helicopter hovered over the villages Wednesday and several police cars were parked outside Mentel’s listed address, a building next to a farm on the outskirts of Weilerbach where the killings are believed to have occurred. A window and construction business, Fensterbau Mentel, is registered to the same address.
Police also maintained a presence near Rodenbach’s village entrances near Weilerbacher Waldchen.
Mentel was described by police as about 5 feet, 7 inches tall, with short curly hair. He was last seen wearing green work pants, a dark softshell jacket and black work shoes, police said in a statement Tuesday.
Area residents are no longer being advised to stay home, but should remain alert when outside and should not approach the suspect if they see him.
“We cannot rule out that the man is armed,” he said.
Police are also warning drivers not to pick up any hitchhikers in the area.
Anyone driving through the search area may encounter roadblocks and traffic stops, Erfort said.
“You have to expect that the police will stop and check you,” he said.
The L356 road between Weilerbach and Hirschhorn, which was blocked Tuesday and runs close to Mentel’s address, was open again Wednesday morning.
Erfort declined to discuss a motive for the suspected homicides, citing the ongoing investigation.
Mentel is also suspected of having started two fires in the nearby villages of Mackenbach and Erzenhausen late Monday night and Tuesday, police said. The fires caused significant property damage but no one was hurt, police said.
Police asked anyone with information regarding the suspect or the incident to call the Westpfalz police at 0631-369-2999. Anyone who sees Mentel should dial the emergency number 110, Erfort said.