German police launched a major manhunt Tuesday for a 19-year-old man suspected of killing a 9-year-old boy and posting a photo and video of the slain child and boasting about it online. A spokesman for police in the western city of Bochum said authorities received a call late Monday from a member of the public, who feared that a killing had taken place in the nearby town of Herne.
Officers searching the basement of a house found the boy’s body, police spokesman Volker Schuette told The Associated Press. The victim and the suspect were neighbors, he said.
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A photo and video showing the suspect — identified by police as Marcel Hesse — apparently gloating next to the victim’s bloodied body was circulating on the so-called darknet — an area of cyberspace that’s invisible on the open internet and used by some for illegal activity.
The photo has since appeared on regular social networking sites, Schuette said.
Police were using helicopters and sniffer dogs to search for Hesse, who is unemployed and had no previous criminal record. They said Hesse, who knows martial arts, could be armed and dangerous and warned the public not to approach the teen, but instead to call police if they believe they’ve seen him.
The suspect was described as being thin, of average height, with short blond hair and glasses, and wearing clothes with a camouflage pattern.