The unsolved, gruesome and famous murder mysteries have always grabbed our attention. Isn’t it? Hinterkaifeck murders or also known as Farm Murders just like its name is one of the creepiest, catchy and ghastly murder cases in German History.

Hinterkaifeck was the name of the farm owned by the Gruber family and it was the same place where the dead bodies of the entire family members were found.

Case History of Hinterkaifeck Murders

Hinterkaifeck was a farm near the German towns of Schrobenhausen and Ingolstadt. It was occupied by 63-year-old Andreas Gruber and his family. His family consisted of his 72-year-old wife Cazilia, and their 35-year-old daughter Viktoria Gabriel. Viktoria’s children, 7-year-old Cazilia and 2-year-old Josef, also shared the home. On March 31, a maid named Maria Baumgartner also started working for the family and living with them.

They were all found struck dead. The perpetrator lived with the six corpses of the victims for three days. Four of the dead bodies were stacked up in the barn. There they found the bodies of Andreas, his wife Cazilia and Viktoria. Upon further inspection, they also found little Cazilia hidden under some straw in the barn. Two victims were further discovered in the farmhouse. The maid Maria and 2-year-old Josef. 

Unfortunately, by the time police arrived from Munich the crime scene had been severely contaminated. Prior to the incident, the family and their previous maid reported hearing horrible sounds coming from the attic, which led to the quitting of previous maid.

How Were The Victims Discovered?

Four days passed between the murders and the discovery of the bodies. On April 1, coffee sellers Hans Schirovsky and Eduard Schirovsky arrived in Hinterkaifeck to take an order. When no one responded to the knocks on the door and the window, they walked around the yard but found no one.

They only noticed that the gate to the machine house was open before they decided to leave. Cäzilia Gabriel was absent without excuse for the next few days of school and the family failed to show up for Sunday worship.

Assembler Albert Hofner went to Hinterkaifeck on April 4 to repair the engine of the food chopper. He stated that he had not seen any of the family and had heard nothing but the sounds of the farm animals and the dog inside the barn. After waiting for an hour, he decided to start his repair, which he completed in roughly 4 and a half hours.

Around 3:30 Pm, Lorenz Schlittenbauer sent his son Johann and stepson Josef to Hinterkaifeck to see if they could make contact with the family. When they reported that they did not see anyone, Schlittenbauer headed to the farm the same day with Michael Pöll and Jakob Sigl.

Entering the barn, they found the bodies of Andreas Gruber, his wife Cäzilia Gruber, his daughter Viktoria Gabriel, and his granddaughter Cäzilia, murdered in the barn. Shortly after, they found the chambermaid, Maria Baumgartner, and the youngest family member, Viktoria’s son Josef, murdered in the home.

Investigation in Case of Farm Murders

Inspector Georg Reingruber and his colleagues from the Munich Police Department investigated the killings. Initial investigations were hampered by the number of people who had interacted with the crime scene, moved bodies and items around, and even cooked and eaten meals in the kitchen. The day after the discovery of the bodies, court physician Johann Baptist Aumüller performed the autopsies in the barn. 

He concluded that they had been murdered somewhere between the evening of March 31 and early morning April 1. All the victims had been killed after being bludgeoned with a pickaxe or similar object numerous times in the skull, all except Josef who received just a single blow.

Traumatically his findings also revealed that 7-year-old Cazilia remained alive for several hours after the attack. During which time she pulled several clumps of hair from her head. The skulls of the victims were removed and sent to Munich, where they were further examined.

The police first suspected the motive to be robbery, and they interrogated travelling craftsmen, vagrants, and several inhabitants from the surrounding villages. When a large amount of money was found in the house, they abandoned this theory.

It was clear the perpetrator(s) had remained at the farm for several days: someone had fed the cattle, eaten the entire supply of bread from the kitchen, and had recently cut meat from the pantry.

With no clear motive to be gleaned from the crime scene, the police began to formulate a list of suspects. Despite repeated arrests, no murderer has ever been found and the files were closed in 1955. Nevertheless, the last interrogations took place in 1986, before Kriminalhauptkommissar Konrad Müller retired.

Aftermath of the Incident

More than 100 suspects were questioned by Inspector Reingruber and his team about the Farm murders. These included a mixture of both locals and people that had just travelled through the area, although there was one interesting omission.

Somehow the mechanic who worked on the farm the day that the bodies were discovered wasn’t interviewed until 1933, some 11 years after the murders. To this day it is unclear as to why that was. Despite the high amount of suspects spoken to no one was charged with committing the atrocities.

Almost 30 years after the Hinterkaifeck murders it seemed the case may actually be solved. A woman named Kreszentia Mayer told priest Anton Hauber on her deathbed that her two brothers had been responsible for the grisly slaughter that took place on Hinterkaifeck Farm. The men in question where Adolf and Anton Gump.

Detective Inspector General George Reingruber had made Adolf a potential suspect in 1922. He was suspected of taking part in the killing of nine peasants with three other men, however, he was never arrested for the Hinterkaifeck murders. By the time he was named by his sister as a suspect, Adolf had himself passed away.

Prosecutor Andreas Popp detained his brother Anton based on the evidence given by his sister. Anton was released shortly after as they had little to hold him. Following several years of investigation, Anton was cleared of any involvement in the murders due to a complete lack of evidence. Investigators also discovered the sister had been prone to making up stories.

The tragic truth is that this case will most likely never be solved. It is almost a century old and very little evidence survived the war. As in most unsolved cases, the Hinterkaifeck murders are just as likely to be committed by someone that has never been brought to any attention as they are by someone mentioned in one of the many theories.

Categories: Case Studies


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