German kidnap victim is found dead

POLICE in Germany have found the body of a banker's wife kidnapped more than three weeks ago.

An autopsy of a woman's body with stab wounds found on Thursday led police yesterday to conclude they have found the body of Maria Boegerl, local police chief Volker Lueck said in Heidenheim.

Boegerl, 54, was seized from her home in the town on 12 May. The kidnapper then demanded a 300,000, ransom from her husband, Thomas, an executive with a local bank, Lueck said.

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Her husband placed the ransom money at the side of a road – an hour late because of logistical problems – but it was not picked up, Lueck said.

Boegerl spoke briefly with her husband then, telling him that her life was in danger, police said. That was the last contact with Boegerl or her kidnapper.

The family offered a 50,000 reward for any information that could have led to the victim's release. Thomas Boegerl appeared on television, with his two children, passionately appealing for his wife's release.

A wide search found only Maria Boegerl's car and mobile phone after the kidnapping.

Police said a walker found the body on Thursday, covered with branches, about a kilometre from where the ransom money had been placed.