A German man murdered his three-year-old son with a chainsaw before killing himself in an apparent custody dispute, police in Bonn said on Thursday.
In a gruesome display of violence, the 24-year-old decapitated his son in the woods outside Hennef near Bonn before turning the chainsaw on himself. A jogger on Wednesday found their bodies in a car and alerted the authorities.
The police said the man from Linz in Rhineland-Palatinate was separated from his wife and had picked up the boy from his mother to have an ice cream on March 22, however, they never returned as had been agreed.
Georg Jahn, the lead homicide investigator, said the crime scene was a “horrible sight” and the police chose not to examine the corpses there out of basic decency.
A spokesman for the state prosecutor, Robin Faßbender, said a custody battle was likely behind the horrific crime. The boy’s mother filed a missing person report with police on Wednesday and reported threats made by the father to kill the boy.
Jahn said there had been a previous “incident” in the family, though it could “not be describe as domestic violence.”
Faßbender said the Youth Services Office (Jugendamt) in the Rhine-Sieg district, which is responsible for managing custody, might have known about the threats. On Thursday morning, state prosecutors made a search of the office to secure files on the family’s case and questioned two employees on suspicion of negligent homicide.