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Police officers in Pragsdorf (photo from 25 September)

Photo: Bernd Wüstneck / dpa

The suspect in the case of the killed six-year-old from Pragsdorf in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has apparently already attracted attention in the past. "We know from the investigations that he has occurred in the past through aggressive behavior towards other children," said the responsible chief investigator, Olaf Hildebrandt, at a press conference in Neubrandenburg. "We think that will be related to that."

However, the 14-year-old has not yet commented on the crime. According to the investigators, the families of the suspect and the victim knew each other from the village milieu. The suspect had not previously appeared in the police.

Manslaughter or murder?

The teenager had been arrested in the morning. He was remanded in custody. According to police, the boy was also the last person who had seen the victim alive at the football field. He had become entangled in contradictions during interrogations. In addition, according to the police, there are DNA traces that can be assigned "with a very high degree of probability to the 14-year-old". The motive is still unclear.

The six-year-old had been discovered in a bush on September 14 with serious stab wounds after his parents reported him missing. He hadn't come home from a football pitch as agreed. Although rescue workers were still trying to resuscitate the boy, his death was determined at the hospital.

According to the public prosecutor's office, further investigations will take some time. It will be about the question of possible psychiatric peculiarities of the suspect, said the Neubrandenburg senior public prosecutor Tim Wischmann. As a rule, an assessment of the suspect also takes place. This raises the legally important question: "Are we dealing here with manslaughter, or murder, or some other type of offense?"

Pragsdorf's mayor Ralf Opitz commented on the success of the investigation. "This is a relief for all residents, but questions remain," he said. In two places in the village, mourning candles and stuffed animals commemorate the killed. The police want to be "more present in the village" in the coming period, said Neubrandenburg police chief Thomas Dabel. The aim is to help calm the situation.