True Crime Sunday: The Hinterkaifeck Murders

Welcome back to True Crime Sunday! This week we’re taking a look at a creepy story that is Germany’s oldest unsolved case.

On the night of March 31, 1922, the six people living at the Hinterkaifeck farmstead in Bavaria were murdered. The victims were Andreas and Cäzilia Gruber, their widowed daughter Viktoria Gabriel, Viktoria’s children, Cäzilia and Josef, and the family’s new maid, Maria Baumgartner. The theory is that the Grubers, Vicktoria, and young Cäzilia were lured out to their barn one by one and beaten with a mattock, a pickaxe type tool. The bodies were then stacked and covered with hay. Josef, who was two years old at the time, and the Maria Baumgartner were killed in the house.

As though this case weren’t creepy enough, it seems that the killer (or killers) lived in the house for three days after the murders. At first, no one suspected anything was wrong. The farm seemed to be running as usual and neighbors saw smoke coming out of the chimney. People only got suspicious when Cäzilia was absent from school and the family missed church.

When neighbors knocked, no one answered, of course. Later, they decided to check the barn and found four of the six members of the household.

Officials initially suspected robbery, but the valuables and money found inside the house put an end to that theory. So, what happened at the farmstead?

Months before the murders, the previous maid quit. She claimed that she couldn’t stand working in the house anymore and that she suspected it was haunted. The maid claimed there were noises and voices in the attic, and she felt like she was being watched. Her claims were dismissed, but Mr. Gruber also suspected something was going on. He found an unfamiliar newspaper in the house, one neither they nor anyone nearby read, and there were strange tracks leading to the house in fresh snow. They also had a spare set of housekeys go missing.

It seems the killer or killers were secretly living with the family for some time. So, who was responsible for this? And why?

Over the course of the investigation there were over a hundred suspects interviewed and some arrests, but ultimately, they were unable to find the guilty party/parties. The skulls of the victims were sent to a psychic in the hopes of breaking the case, but to no avail. The case has been reopened over the years. The case remains unsolved.

A year after the murders, the house was demolished and a memorial was put up.

Thank you for joining me for True Crime Sunday! Which case will we look at next week? There’s only one way to find out…

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