Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

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Linking Crimes

®Elfriedes family told the police that their phone number was unlisted but that Elfriede carried it with her. Aside from the unlikely possibilities that close friends or relatives were playing a dreadful prank, that information provided a good indication that she had some involvement with the person making the call, whether she had run off or been a victim of foul play.

So taking stock of their situation, in the five-month period from October 1990 through March 1991, one woman had been murdered in Graz, one in Bregenz and a third woman was missing from Graz. It was possible that they had one murderer who traveled or two murderers in two different cities who bore some coincidental similarities in their MO. They were grimly aware that they needed more data, which might require another crime.

The Austrian Federal Police were concerned but uncertain whether these events were related. For all they knew, Elfriede Schrempf had just decided to leave. There were no real leads, although the police kept on the case for several months. Then just as the investigation began to fade, hikers discovered a set of skeletonized remains in a forested area outside Graz on October 5. It turned out to be the remains of a woman of the right size for Schempf and she was covered by leaves. While it was autumn, which could explain the leaves on her, another factor that jumped out: the only clothing found near the remains was a pair of socks. Soon she was identified as Elfriede Schrempf.

Silvia Zagler
Silvia Zagler
Then, in less than a month, Silvia Zagler, Sabine Moitzi, Regina Prem and Karin Eroglu each vanished without a trace from the streets of Vienna, a third Austrian city. All had been prostitutes. Now the police had an additional area to patrol, but no more crime scenes for finding clues. This killer was elusive.

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