The Jewish community of Mainz reacted with shock and grief on Thursday after a 14-year-old girl was found dead, as police launched a manhunt for an Iraqi refugee suspected of killing her.
The girl, identified as Susanna F., was found on Wednesday on the outskirts of the western German city of Wiesbaden. She had been missing since May 22.
Prosecutors said Thursday that two men — a 20-year-old Iraqi and a 35-year-old Turkish citizen, both of whom lived at homes for asylum-seekers in the city — are suspected of raping and killing the girl on the evening she went missing. They believe the two then buried her body.
“I am as shocked, sad and aghast about the violent death of Susanna as one can be,” Rabbi Aharon Ran Vernikovsky, who leads the Mainz Jewish community, told the Juedische Algemeine weekly, adding that the community would do everything in its power to help and support her family, who live in Mainz.
Susanna’s case has preoccupied German media for several days, though most newspapers did not initially mention the fact that she was Jewish.
On Thursday afternoon, the Central Council of Jews in Germany confirmed that the victim was Jewish and expressed its condolences to her friends and family.
“A young life was ended in a gruesome fashion,” the statement read. “Our deepest sympathies are with family and friends. Susanna was a member of the Jewish Community of Mainz.”
At this point, there is no information as to the suspects’ motives, and whether the murder will be investigated as a hate crime.
“Currently, the background of the deed is still unclear,” the Council said in its statement. “We expect law enforcement authorities to speedily and comprehensively solve the case, as well as harsh consequences for the perpetrator or the perpetrators. Premature conclusions or speculations, however, must not be made.”