Germany’s Notorious Hinterkaifeck Murders Remain Unsolved Nearly 100 Years Later

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If unresolved mysteries are your jam, you’re going to be totally up for digging into the details of this century-old case. There are not, however, many answers, though, so if that’s going to drive you nuts, well, it’s something to remember.

The Scene:

The Hinterkaifeck farmstead was located in a wooded area near Grobern, Germany, about an hour’s drive from Munich. Its occupants were 35-year-old Viktoria Gabriel, her 7-year-old daughter Cazilia, her 2-year-old son Josef, and her parents, Andreas and Cazilia Gruber.

Viktoria’s husband, the father of 7-year-old Cazilia (supposedly – we’ll circle back to this), had died a decade previously, in WWI.

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The family was known for keeping to themselves, so several days passed between neighbors noticing that Cazilia had missed school and when a few people decided to check up on them only to discover a grisly scene.

Four bodies were found in the barn, brutally battered to death with a blunt object or objects. Autopsy reports show that the parents were strangled and beaten, Viktoria died from nine “star-shaped” wounds to the face and head, and that the 7-year-old’s jaw was shattered and her face and neck had sustained gaping, circular wounds.

Experts believe the star-shaped marks were made by a mattock – a pickax-like tool – and that Viktoria and her parents likely died instantly from their wounds. Sadly, the little girl likely lay there for house in shock; she had ripped her own hair out in clumps.

In the house, new maid Maria Baumgartner – it was her first day on the job – was found killed by blows to the head and the 2-year-old dead from one, heavy blow to the face.

The Clues:

All of the bodies were covered, which suggests the person who committed the murders was close to them and felt emotional or uncomfortable at seeing them dead.

The dog and other animals were unharmed, but more than that, they had been fed and cared for in the days between the murder and the discovery of the bodies.

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The previous maid had quit after claiming the farmhouse was haunted; she reported hearing sounds in the attic and an unsettling feeling of being watched.

Though an investigation was held and a number of suspects were arrested, no one was ever charged with the murder. The case lingered on for decades, and even though it was finally closed in 1955, interrogations took place up until 1986. And now, the murders have gone so long unsolved that it is unlikely there will ever be a satisfactory conclusion.