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Murder victim’s head found in concrete block

Police have told a press conference in Linz that a woman whose dismembered body was found hidden in two suitcases in a lake in Upper Austria was likely strangled. Her head, which was missing, was later found encased in concrete.

Murder victim's head found in concrete block
The two suitcases were found close to Gschliefgrabens. Photo: salzi.at

A second body, that of a man, was found in Traunsee on Monday afternoon, about 5 km from the shore. He had bags containing stones and a concrete block tied to his hands. The concrete block concealed the woman's missing head.

Upper Austrian police chief Gottfried Mitterlehner told the press conference that detectives believe the man murdered the woman and then drowned himself.

The bodies have not yet been identified, and neither are believed to have been reported missing. So far, police have not found an abandoned car near the lake so it is not clear how the woman’s body was transported to the water.

A coroner's report said that the woman was between 50 and 70 years old, was around 1.75 meters tall and weighed around 80 kilos. She was probably murdered between Christmas and New Year's Eve, and her body was then cut into pieces using a saw.

The first suitcase was found floating in the water by a man who was walking by the lake on the outskirts of Gmunden on Sunday. He pulled it ashore and called the police, who found parts of a female body inside it. On Monday morning a police dog discovered a second case, which also contained body parts.

One of the cases in which the remains were found. Photo: FOTOKERSCHI.AT

CRIME

EXPLAINED: What to do if you experience online abuse in Austria

Following the suicide of an Austrian doctor who received threats from Covid-19 anti-vaccination activists, the government has now launched a new campaign to help victims of online abuse.

EXPLAINED: What to do if you experience online abuse in Austria

The Austrian medical community was left in shock in July when Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, a local doctor in Seewalchen am Attersee in Upper Austria, took her own life following months of online abuse.

Kellermayr, 36, had been targeted by anti-vaccination activists and Covid-19 conspiracy theorists for her out-spoken support of vaccines, and the abuse even included death threats. 

Her death prompted candlelight vigils and demonstrations in Vienna and the tragic story was picked up by news outlets around the world.

READ MORE: How Austria’s attempt to make vaccines mandatory changed the country

This led to calls for tighter laws against online bullying and the ability for perpetrators to be prosecuted in other EU countries – particularly as at least two of the people who are believed to have targeted Kellermayr are based in Germany, according to the Guardian.

The Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) has even called for the creation of a special public prosecutor’s office to deal with “hate-on-the-net”, but this has been rejected by prosecutors and other political parties, as reported by ORF.

Instead, the Federal Justice Department has launched a new information campaign, website and hotline to help people dealing with online abuse.

FOR MEMBERS: What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

What is in the new campaign?

Austria’s Justice Minister Alma Zadic (Greens) said they have launched the campaign to raise awareness about the issue and to inform victims about the support available.

Zadic said: “It is important to me that those affected know that they are not alone in this situation and that the judiciary supports them with free psychological and legal process support.”

“You don’t have to cope alone with the extraordinary burdens that criminal proceedings can entail, for example through confrontation with the perpetrators.”

READ ALSO: Austria in shock over doctor’s suicide following anti-vax abuse

Part of the support package is the new website Hilfe bei Gewalt (Help with Violence), which details how to access help from the authorities, as well as secure free legal advice and representation from a lawyer.

The website states the service is for victims of bullying and/or hate online, defamation, stalking, terrorism, incitement, sexual violence and robbery.

The service is designed to be anonymous with options to contact the Justice Department by phone or via a chat box. The website also lists contact details for regional support services in all provinces across Austria. 

The free (kostenlos) hotline for Hilfe bei Gewalt is 0800 112 112.

Useful links

Hilfe bei Gewalt

Austrian Federal Justice Department

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