German prosecutors say there is evidence of cannibalism in the murder of a 44-year-old man whose remains were found in Berlin this month.
A 41-year-old man was arrested at his home on Thursday on suspicion of sexually motivated murder, near where the victim’s bones were found.
“The suspect is interested in cannibalism,” said Martin Steltner, a spokesman for the Berlin prosecutor̵
Steltner said it was unclear whether the victim was also interested in cannibalism. The two men, both Germans, were in contact online through a chat forum called Planet Romeo, according to a report in Der Spiegel.
On November 8, a walker attacked the skeletal remains of a human foot in a field on the northern outskirts of Berlin, near the border with Brandenburg.
Investigators found bite marks on the bones, although they said it was not yet clear if they were human or animal.
The remains were of a 44-year-old high-voltage technician who disappeared from his shared apartment in Berlin’s Lichtenberg district on September 5th.
A search involving specially trained spy dogs eventually led police to the apartment of the 41-year-old suspect, a high school math and chemistry teacher, where they found knives, a bone cutter used by surgeons and a huge cooling box.
The image The newspaper also reported that investigators found 25 kg of sodium hydroxide, a reagent that can be used to dissolve body tissue. The suspect reportedly wanted to make soap.
The full names of the victim and the suspect were not disclosed for reasons of confidentiality.
Reports of the arrest drew parallels with the infamous Rothenburg cannibal case. In 2006, a German court convicted Armin Maeves of murder and breach of peace for the murder of a man he met online and ate. Maves is serving a life sentence.
Unlike the suspect arrested for the Berlin murder, Maves was quick to talk to prosecutors and share details of his obsession.
In 2015, a German police officer was convicted of murder for the murder of a man he met in an internet chat forum dedicated to cannibalism. Prosecutors said the victim fantasized she had been eaten, but there was no evidence that the suspect had actually done so.