Skeleton Discovery Shocks German Village Missing Doctor Lay Dead in Garage for 22 Years

A doctor who went missing 22 years ago has been found dead in the loft of his garage after apparently committing suicide in 1985. His wife and daughter were unaware they were living meters away from his corpse.


The house in Bergholz-Rehbrücke, near Potsdam, where the man's remains were found.
DPA

The house in Bergholz-Rehbrücke, near Potsdam, where the man's remains were found.

When German doctor Siegfried B. went missing in 1985, Ronald Reagan was in the White House, the Communists still ruled eastern Europe and Boris Becker won Wimbledon.

He has now been found after lying dead for 22 years in the former East German village of Bergholz-Rehbrücke, southwest of Berlin -- in the loft of his garage. He'd apparently committed suicide, police said.

His wife reported him missing in March 1985. He had left the house -- she thought -- saying, "I’m just going out for a while." She still lives in the house adjoining the garage, which she used for years unaware that her dead husband was just a few feet overhead.

The man’s skeleton was found last Monday by workers repairing the garage roof. There were some farewell notes and a bottle of Schnapps next to him. The body was wrapped in a blanket.

Prosecutors said they weren’t treating the death as suspicious. "There are no indications that he was killed by anyone else," Wilfried Lehmann, prosecutor in the city of Potsdam, told Bild newspaper.

The man, known only as Siegfried B., was a medical doctor and may have poisoned himself with drugs, prosecutors said. He turned 50 a few days before he disappeared.

Local media reported rumors among villagers at the time that he had been in trouble with the East German secret police, the Stasi, and that he had been a critic of the Communist regime.

When his widow Barbara reported him missing, police searched the grounds and the house but failed to look in the loft above the garage. They focused their search in the nearby forest because he had been an avid hunter. She and her daughter Claudia were reported to be deeply shocked by the discovery.

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