Abduction of minors, sexual assault and murder with intent to cover up: In the case of a dead schoolgirl from Baden-Württemberg, the investigators suspect a 29-year-old from Hesse with a criminal record.

The German is in custody and is no stranger to the authorities – even as a teenager he was noticed for a sexual offense, has a criminal record and was treated by a specialist for a long time. Candles are burning in front of the town hall of the municipality of Gottenheim near Freiburg, where 14-year-old Ayleen lived until a few days ago. Citizens have added sunflowers and roses.

The accused has remained silent so far. On Monday, however, the investigators pointed to clear indications: During an apartment raid near Wetzlar, objects were secured that point to the 14-year-old.

“There is an urgent suspicion,” summed up the head of the Freiburg public prosecutor’s office, Dieter Inhofer, with a serious expression. “We are only at the beginning,” added the lawyer with a view to the investigation. “It will take weeks.”

The schoolgirl is said to have driven to Hesse in the man’s car on the evening of her disappearance, i.e. on July 21, said chief criminal director Arno Englen of the Freiburg police.

Did the 14-year-old, who was described as shy, join voluntarily or was she forced? That is one of the many unanswered questions in the complicated criminal case. Investigations were also still ongoing on the exact route, said Englen.

With the help of mobile phone tracking and technical surveillance, investigators found the body of the 14-year-old girl last Saturday. It was found in Teufelsee near Wetterau north of Frankfurt am Main.

According to investigators, it is still unclear how the 14-year-old died. The fact that the body was in the water for several days made the work of the forensic doctor more difficult, said the head of the public prosecutor’s office in Freiburg, Dieter Inhofer. A first autopsy did not provide any precise information on this.

The suspect is said to have been in contact with 14-year-old Ayleen for weeks before the alleged crime. According to the information, the investigators have to evaluate huge amounts of data on communication in social media and an online game.

The 29-year-old is no stranger to the authorities. According to the investigators, he came to a psychiatric hospital as a teenager in 2007 for an attempted sexual offense. The stay ended in 2017. Until recently, he was in a program for sex offenders at risk of recidivism, as the President of the Hessian State Criminal Police Office, Andreas Röhrig, explained on Monday in Freiburg.

The suspect initially denied the allegations and is now silent. The investigating Freiburg prosecutor Franziska Scheuble said there was an urgent suspicion of a sexual offence. She is unable to provide any further information at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

Ayleen left her parents’ home around 6 p.m. on July 21 and has been missing ever since. A major police search, including with dogs and police helicopters, yielded no results. Police announced the 14-year-old’s death on Saturday.

In the home of the student and at the distant place of discovery in Hesse, sadness and horror prevail. “The worst that can happen in such a case has happened. The whole of Gottenheim is in shock,” said Mayor Christian Riesterer.