Mystery – Hinterkaifeck Murders

This mystery murder is almost 100 years old and still remains unsolved. Hinterkaifeck is the name of the German Farm located approximately 43 miles north of Munich, Germany. The farm was built around 1863, and after the murders the farm was demolished.

How it all began–In 1921, Andreas and Cazilia Gruber resided on the farm, along with their widowed daughter Viktoria, and her two children, Cazilia and Josef. The maid Maria Baumgartner also resided with the family.

In September of 1921, the family maid had quit, and Maria Baumgartner took her place six months later. The original maid left because there were strange sounds in the attic and she thought the house was haunted.

Strange things began days before the murder, Andreas found a newspaper from Munich that he nor his neighbors subscribed to. Andreas had also informed his neighbors that he had found fresh tracks in the snow that led from the forest to a broken door lock in the farm’s machine room.

Hearing footsteps in the attic, Andreas searched, but found nobody. He informed several people of these happenings but refused help and didn’t go to the police.

On the night of March 31, 1922; Andreas, Cazilia, their daughter Viktoria, and granddaughter Cazilia were all lured to the barn, one at a time. They were murdered one by one. The murderer(s) used a mattock belonging to the family and killed them with blows to the head. Afterwards they went into the house and killed Josef as he lay sleeping, and then they killed Maria in her room.

Four days passed. People had come to the farm to do small repairs or sell products. But when the family wasn’t seen at Sunday worship, and young Cazilia was absent from school, people began to worry.

Several neighbors came to the house to see if they could reach anyone. But when they didn’t see anyone about they entered the barn where they found the four bodies. Shortly after they found the other two bodies in the home.

Police from Munich investigated, but their investigation was hampered by the number of people who had interacted with the scene; moved bodies, moved items, even cooked and ate a meal in the kitchen!

The autopsies were performed in the barn, and it was determined that a mattock was most likely the murder weapon, even though it was not found at the scene of the crime. The police questioned anyone who had anything to do with the family, even those who were simply traveling through. Unfortunately there was no clear motive, nor was there anyone who had any knowledge of who would have committed these crimes.

The files were closed in 1955 and the last interrogations were in 1986. There were some suspects, but due to lack of evidence no arrests were made. The suspects included:

  • Karl Gabriel – It was reported that Viktoria was widowed, her husband had died during the first world war. It was rumored that Josef, Viktoria’s son was the product of an incestuous relationship with her father. The war captives after the second world war, who were released from Soviet captivity claim that a German speaking Soviet officer claimed to be the murderer at Hinterkaifeck. Reports claim that it was Karl Gabriel who had wanted to go to Russia.
  • Lorenz Schlittenbauer – Lorenz was a widower in 1918, and believed to have a relationship with Viktoria and was the father of Josef. The reason he became suspected of the crime is that when they found the bodies, Lorenz used a key to enter the house alone. It is known that he had disturbed the bodies on the scene, thus compromising the investigation.

Sadly we will never know why these six people were murdered, nor who had done it. Hopefully they are able to rest in peace.

Stay Curious my Friends!!

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