German man convicted of killing 16-year-old girl arrested in Enschede
Police in the Netherlands captured a German fugitive convicted of killing 16-year-old Nicole Schalla. Ralf H., from Münster, was convicted in January for the 1993 slaying. His sentence of life imprisonment was made final ten days ago. Since the conviction the 56-year-old was monitored by electronic surveillance.
German police suspect his fiancé, a 54-year-old woman, helped him forcibly remove the ankle monitor on December 21. A new warrant was issued for his arrest a day later, and a warrant was issued for her arrest the following day.
“During the course of the investigation, there was increasing evidence that the wanted person could be in an apartment in Enschede,” Münster police said. This was based on a combination of details, including location data from the ankle monitor, the discovery of a suspect’s vehicle near the property, and that the fiancé is registered as living at the Enschede home.
German authorities notified Dutch police who visited the residential address overnight. The couple was taken into custody just after midnight on Friday. The Dutch city is less than 70 kilometers away from Münster.
An investigation is ongoing into the role the woman played in the escape. It was not yet clear if she will be formally charged with a crime.
Nicole Schalla was found dead near a bus stop in Dortmund on October 14, 1993. A police investigation determined that the killer was waiting for her. Clothes were ripped from her body, and she was assaulted, according to Bild. She may have fought and struggled for up to eight minutes before passing out.
DNA evidence examined a few years ago connected H. to the crime. The entire court process took a few years before reaching its conclusion last week.
The newspaper interviewed her parents, Sigrid and Joachim Schalla, shortly after H. went missing. “I feel hatred and anger inside. We are very pleased that the judgment is final, but I don't understand how it can be that this murderer was at large at all,” her father said. “Shortly before Christmas, it's not that easy.”
“Through all the delays in the process, I noticed that the emotional pressure was rising again,” Sigrid Schalla said. “I had thought that the matter would finally come to an end when the judgment became final. And now he's gone. Now there is no peace,” she said after H. fled Germany.