Polizeidirektion Sachsen-Anhalt Ost - Pressemitteilung Nr.: 150/2016

Dessau-Roßlau, den 14. November 2016

Press release about an unsolved crime case
(City of Dessau-Roßlau)

Discovery of an unknown dead body

On 5th July 2016 at about noon a canoeist paddling on the river Elbe discovered a metal-box, floating on the water surface, evidently containing a human body.

Police Officers from Water Police Station Magdeburg responded to the scene. After arrival at about 1:20 p.m. they confirmed the discovery of an unknown death body within the metal box.

Jointly with firefighters from surrounded villages the corpse was recovered and brought to the Institute of Medical Jurisprudence in Halle (Saale).

Dessau-Roßlau‘s Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation in order to clarify the identity of the person, the cause of death as well as the circumstances of decease.

Police investigations enclose links to other missing person cases, also transnational.

 First Results of post-mortem forensic examination

Results of the first autopsy had shown that the unknown person found in the metal box on the river Elbe was male. Furthermore traces of multiple injuries were discovered, which suggests that the men became a victim of a homicide.


The found person can be described as follows:

On the left forearm a black ink tattoo displaying „Michaela“ was discovered (figure 1). On the right hand side ring finger a golden ring with engraving „Michaela“ was found (figure 2).

The forensic post-mortem examination report says that the time of death must have been several weeks before the discovery of the corpse, based on its superficial condition and appearance.


The metal-box

The corpse was found in a rather old and partially rusty metal-box which appears to be used as a container for tools and worker’s personal belongings (figures 3 and 4). Pursued investigation has shown that a large number of this metal-box type was produced until 1991. An apparent manual black ink writing named “Albert Glück” was found at the front side of the box. Two adhesive labels were found on the inside hatch, one with the inscription „Original BETRA Qualität“ (figure 5) another label showing two “Mainzelmännchen” (animated advertising characters) with the inscription “ZDF” (2nd German public television channel) (figure 6).

Forensic facial reconstruction of the individual

The facial reconstruction, provided by special forensic section of State Office of Criminal Investigations Saxony-Anhalt, shows an approximate physical appearance of the unknown person (figure 7).


Place of the discovery of the corpse

In the meantime ongoing forensic investigation has shown, that the metal-box containing the human body was apparently thrown from the near A9-motorway bridge into the river Elbe (figure 8).

The relevant segment of the A9-motorway bridge is situated between junction 8 “Coswig” and junction 9 “Vockerode”. The A9-motorway connects the major cities Berlin and Munich and is frequently used by commuters, tourists and domestic car drivers as well as for road haulage.

Criminal investigation emerged so far, that unknown persons apparently conveyed the metal-box with the human body by an unknown automotive to a place on the described A9-motorway bride before 5th July 2016, then throwing the metal-box from the bridge directly into the water of the river Elbe.


Isotope dating and analysis / Facial soft tissue reconstruction

The identification on the unknown individual plays a prominent role inside the investigation. Since the body was found in a metal-box on the river Elbe on 5th July 2016, prosecutor’s office and police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) imposed forensic surveys regarding isotope analysis as well as facial soft tissue reconstruction.


Isotope dating and analysis

The biochemical examination for isotope dating and analysis was implemented by the Institute for Forensic Medicine of Munich. The results suggest that the unknown person lived in Germany at least for the last ten years, originally stems from south-east Europe. Researches had shown, that the unknown person presumably lived in one the south-east European states until the age of 35. He might be grown up in states like Ex-Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria or other neighboring countries before he moved to Germany. It appears that he rather lived inland than at the seaside.


Facial soft tissue reconstruction

The facial reconstruction was done by specialists from Saxony-Anhalt’s State Office of Criminal Investigations (figures 9 and 10). The following figures show how the unknown person might have looked like before his death.


Investigator’s questions

Despite a great number of national and transnational publications, the identity of the found person is still unknown. Many people grandly supported police investigations by yielding important information, but the person is still considered as unidentified.

With this additional press release police and prosecutor’s office are again looking for any relevant information. Investigators are seeking for your support. However somebody considers his or her perceptions as not so important until now, it could provide a breakthrough information for our detectives. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

For any relevant information please use our contact number +49-340-6000-291 or write an email to lfz.pd-ost@polizei.sachsen-anhalt.de. You can also report to your local police office nearby.


Frank Pieper
Press officer
Prosecutor’s office Dessau-Roßlau                             


Sebastian Opitz
Press officer
Police Department „Region East“ Saxony-Anhalt

Figure 1 – tattoo „Michaela“

Figure 2 – golden ring with engraving „Michaela“

Figure 3 – metal-box

Figure 4 – metal-box

Figure 5 – label showing

Figure 6 – label showing animated characters and inscription „ZDF“

Figure 7 - Forensic facial reconstruction of the individual

Figure 8 – Place of the discovery

Figure 9 – Facial reconstruction, profile image

Figure 10 – Facial reconstruction


Polizeidirektion Sachsen-Anhalt Ost
Kühnauer Straße 161
06846 Dessau-Roßlau
Tel: (0340) 6000-201
Fax: (0340) 6000-300
Mail: presse.pd-ost@polizei.sachsen-anhalt.de