A U.S. man has been indicted on murder and rape charges for attacking and pushing two American women down an incline at an iconic German castle, one of whom succumbed to her injuries.
The 31-year-old suspect, who has not been identified due to German privacy rules, was filed at a Kempten state court, which will have to make the decision on whether or not to send the case to trial.
He faces charges of murder, attempted murder, rape with fatal consequences, and possession of child pornography. In Germany, murder cases have a maximum sentence of life behind bars.
The attack happened on June 14 at the Neuschwanstein castle near the Marienbrucke bridge, one of the most famous tourist attractions in Germany.
According to police, the two women were visiting the castle and had decided to hike near the bridge when they ran into the suspect, who was 30 years old at the time. State prosecutor Thomas Hormann told media outlets that the man managed to persuade the tourists to follow him down a separate trail for a better view of the castle.
The U.S. tourists did not know the man.
Once they were separated from the rest of the tourist group, the man attacked the 21-year-old woman. The 22-year-old immediately went to help but was strangled and pushed down into the ravine.
The man then turned his attention to the 21-year-old, whom he allegedly strangled and raped after she was unconscious. He then pushed her down the incline as well.
The two women were ultimately located by the Fussen Mountain Rescue Service and transported to the hospital via helicopter. The rescue team had noted that the mission was “very, very difficult” as the aircraft had to stay just feet over the tree line.
Despite their best efforts, however, the 21-year-old woman succumbed to her injuries. The 22-year-old suffered a head injury, grazes, and bruises, but survived the fall.
The victims were later identified as 21-year-old Eva Liu and 22-year-old Kelsey Chang, both of whom were computer science graduates from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The pair had traveled to Germany together after graduating in May.
The suspect had fled the scene after the incident but was found and arrested by German police near the castle on suspicion of murder, attempted sexual assault, and attempted murder. He was later seen being escorted away by officials in handcuffs.
At the time of his arrest, he also had obvious scratches on his face, according to a witness. In
Prosecutors also found a laptop belonging to the man, which contained child pornography.
Police also asked for the public’s help in finding videos or pictures of the three U.S. individuals, who may or may not have been walking together near the German Castle.