After poison attack on TU Darmstadt: Mainzer arrested

The public prosecutor’s office in Darmstadt reports a successful investigation: a 32-year-old is said to have committed the attack on the Lichtwiese. There are doubts about the criminal liability.

DARMSTADT – The breakthrough is here: Seven months after the sensational poisoning attack on the premises of the Technical University (TU) Darmstadt, the investigators were able to locate a suspicious person: As the public prosecutor’s office and police headquarters in southern Hesse announced on Thursday morning, a 32-year-old student from Mainz is said to be for be responsible for the symptoms of poisoning in seven members of the TU. The suspect is now in a psychiatric hospital, said senior prosecutor Robert Hartmann.

The poison attack in building L2/01 caused a nationwide stir and horror in urban society. On August 23, seven people complained of symptoms of poisoning, such as a bluish discoloration of the skin, after eating various foods. A 30-year-old man was briefly in mortal danger. The victims were able to leave the hospital two days after the poisoning. The search for traces of a toxic substance, the name of which the public prosecutor’s office still does not want to reveal, was found relatively early on in several foods – including various milk packs and water containers. The groceries were kept in three tea kitchens, to which the TU members had free access.

Up to 3000 files on the case

Immediately after it became known, the “Licht” homicide commission – based on the TU location Lichtwiese – was set up, to which up to 50 officers belonged in the meantime. The establishment of such an investigative group was unique in Darmstadt’s recent criminal history. The evaluation of traces proved to be tricky: According to the public prosecutor’s office, trace carriers in the four-digit range had to be examined, the investigation file also read on the subject: already comprised a good 3000 pages in November.

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Lichtwiese crime scene: Six members of the university were injured by poisoning in building L2/01.  Archive photo: Guido Schiek

Lichtwiese crime scene: Six members of the university were injured by poisoning in building L2/01.
(Archive photo: Guido Schiek)

According to senior public prosecutor Hartmann, the investigations show that there are “urgent reasons” for the fellow student to have added “harmful substances” to the food in the building that is part of the materials science department at the TU. The public prosecutor’s office continues to remain silent about the exact substance. According to media reports, there was 1.4 butanediol, a liquid ecstasy substitute, in the room, which the authority has never officially confirmed.

Was the woman guilty at all?

There are also indications that the accused 32-year-old was not guilty at the time of the crime, and the student was now being placed in a psychiatric hospital. The Darmstadt district court granted the public prosecutor’s application on Wednesday, Hartmann explains. The public prosecutor’s office has not yet commented on the specific clinical picture, but indicates that the accused “felt persecuted” by the employees of the TU, which could indicate paranoid schizophrenia.

Also read ours [plus]-Story with the bizarre details about the suspects.

Based on the evaluation of digital forensic traces, it can be reconstructed that the 32-year-old was in building L2/01 on the night of August 23 and that the employees who showed signs of poisoning appeared in the woman’s records. To what extent the suspect was in personal contact with the TU members has not yet been announced.

The police headquarters in southern Hesse evaluates the investigation as a great success. “The homicide commission, which was newly set up and called up for the first time as part of the reform of the fight against crime, has proven its worth,” says detective director Jens Peter Thiemel.

An initial reaction from the TU after the success of the investigation is still pending, the press office of the university could not be reached by telephone for an initial statement.

We report back.

This article was originally published on March 31, 2022 at 10:02 am.