German police baffled by mysterious crossbow deaths

Police in Germany have admitted they are baffled by the mysterious deaths of five people at opposite ends of the country, three of whom died of crossbow injuries.

The first bodies were found at the weekend in a guest-house room in the Bavarian city of Passau. A man and a woman lay dead on the bed, while the body of a second woman was on the floor beside them.

All three were killed by crossbow bolts. Three crossbows were found in the room, two of which had been fired. Initial suspicions were that it was a suicide pact.

But the mystery deepened when police attempted to notify the partner of the dead woman on the floor.

When police called at her apartment hundreds of miles away in the small northern town of Wittengen, they discovered the bodies of two more women inside. One is believed to be the woman in Passau’s girlfriend. The other has not been identified.

The cause of the deaths of the women found in Wittengen is unclear.

“We have five dead, that much is clear. Everything else is in doubt,” Walter Feiler, the senior prosecutor in Passau, told journalists.

The three found dead in the guest house have been named as Torsten W, Kerstin E, and Farina C. Their surnames have not been released under German privacy laws. The two women found in Wittenberg have not been named.

Torsten W was the 53-year-old owner of a medieval costume and weapons shop in Hachenburg, a small town in western Germany. He is believed to have been active in the medieval re-enactment scene. When journalists from Bild newspaper visited the shop on Tuesday, they found a mannequin dressed in lingerie and smeared with fake blood.

Kerstin E was found on the bed beside Torsten W. The 33-year-old was registered at the same address as him near Hachenburg, suggesting they may have been a couple.

A preliminary autopsy found they both died of crossbow bolts to the heart. Wills were found for both in the guest-house room, suggesting a suicide pact. But they each had injuries from further crossbow bolts which the autopsy suggested were fired after the shots to their hearts.

Farina C was the woman found on the floor beside them. The 30-year-old died of a single crossbow bolt to the throat, suggesting she may have killed the others then turned the weapon on herself.

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It was Farina C whose partner was found dead hundreds of miles north in Wittingen. It is not clear how she was connected to Torsten W and Kerstin E.

The three booked a room at the guest-house just two hours before their arrival at around 10pm on Friday evening. They took a family room with a double-bed and a single-bed. Farina C paid €300 (£260) cash in advance for a three-day stay.

Staff described them as quiet. Torsten W had a long beard and the two women were dressed in black. They took water and cola up to the room, and didn’t order breakfast.

Crossbows are legal to buy from the age of 18 in Germany. A legal study in 2011 found that while difficult, suicide by crossbow is possible

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