A person who is accused in Germany of a murder, you can assume that he will also be sentenced. Acquittals are in this type of offence is rare in the German courts, often the sequence of events is clear and is not disputed by anyone. Many killers confess to their deed, is discussed before the court, then, especially, what is the Motivation and history you have, what parts of your biography you have influenced the most. Only sometimes, a few times in the year, things are different, and everything seemed to be at the beginning, so clear, dissolves before a national court, in an infinite grey.

Nicole-Denise Schalla lived, was a slim girl with long, curly hair, attended the eleventh class of a grammar school in Dortmund with his parents and the REC, especially with horses spent. She had a sister, with the help of which you understood well, and a friend, with whom she had only been so Recently that their parents had not met him yet. Schalla was a decent student with many friends, the relationship with their parents was good. All in all, it was her life not much to suspend. Then the 14 came out. October 1993.

Which Bus has taken Nicole-Denise Schalla at the time?

the schallaburg has spent the afternoon on this autumn day in a riding stable, and then to your friend in a few kilometers away, Herne hazards. Against 21.35 PM on breaks there to make on the way home. It is raining, the road is long and complicated, and your friend offers to let his father bring home. Schalla refuses, she takes the Bus. What buses carefully you drive, is not more clear, is just that you repeatedly make the transition, and about an hour later, at 22.45 PM, the line 462 in the direction of Huckarde at the former station Jungferntal leaves. Your parents house is not far now, there are only a few Hundred meters.


The body of 16-Year-old was found DNA from Ralf H., has already been convicted multiple times for violence against women. He denies, however, to have the girl killed.

©Bernd Thissen/DPA

the schallaburg is wearing headphones, you probably listen to with a Walkman music, she probably gets that behind her, a man gets out. This man is about 30 years old and looks well-groomed, after Exiting the bus, he hits the hood over the head. Then he goes in the same direction as the schallaburg, it remains unclear whether he follows her.

The next Morning at about eight o’clock a paper girl, right, discovered the body of a young woman. It is located under a hedge in the fire of the young entry remote talschule, half-naked, the pants are down, the sweater pushed up. The Walkman of the body, is turned on, but the battery is empty. The rain that has fallen in the night on the body, has ceased to be. Nicole-Denise Schalla, horse lover, Junior, sister and daughter, is dead. Your parents left for a short holiday in the Netherlands, learn it on the phone. Her daughter was 16 years old.

To Schallas neck, a clear sign that she was strangled to be found. On the same day the police investigation begin. The bus driver of the line 462 and another passenger reports, the man got off behind the schallaburg. The phantom image of a man with curly hair drawn, police cars driving through the streets and call with the speakers to tell witnesses to sign. But the man who has left behind the schallaburg the Bus, reports never. If he has something to do with the murder, know no one.

Four days after the fact, children Schallas backpack found on a pedestrian bridge over the A45, a few Hundred meters from the scene of the crime. An umbrella and a wallet missing, both items have not been found until today. He will hunt the murderer of his daughter until the end of the world, says Schallas father was a newspaper.

After a time, the case will stagnate for the Cold Case

But the police investigation, interviews of witnesses, leading nowhere. At some point the case will be put aside, and then only in large intervals recovered: in the year 2000, as a new investigator takes over. In 2007, when new methods of DNA analysis are available. In the year 2013, as further refined version of methods of a trace of DNA on Schallas backpack is found. 100 men to give a saliva sample, none of them fits to the track.

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The parents Schallas continue to live without knowing who killed their daughter. But then, suddenly, in the year 2018, presented to the police to the alleged killer. “Girl’s murder after 25 years in its security,” writes a newspaper, the lead investigator brings to the parents the message. He was very glad, he said in a television interview, to be allowed this Moment to have experienced. The police has solved a Cold Case.

Or is it?

Cold Cases are cases that have happened years ago, or even decades, and at that time remained unresolved. The files of these cases, almost exclusively homicides remain open, you will always be brought out and new information is examined. It used to be almost impossible to solve a case, which was in a small eternity, still, witnesses had died, or remembered only in schemes, traces were gone, and all the crime scenes built-in, have been solved in the past few years, a series of old cases. This has mainly one reason: the better possibilities for analysis of DNA evidence.

While it is well into the 90s, very hard, traces of a perpetrator may now be developed from the smallest skin flakes, DNA patterns, and in huge databases is entered and this DNA pattern is found in one of the databases (for example, because the DNA has a carrier ever been convicted of a criminal Offence), the offender, often.

often, there is not in these Cold Cases is much different than the DNA of the murderer and his murder – no witness, no links, no evidence. A conviction is usually not in the way if the DNA results in a distinct trace of their origin, for example, in blood or semen has. If it does not, problems arise.

DNA-Code into the BKA database

Also, in the case of Schalla, a DNA comparison led to the alleged perpetrator. From a Skin scraping, which was found at the bar of the schallaburg and was with the human eye barely visible, was created a DNA-pattern. As of this DNA Code has been entered in the database of the Federal criminal police office, there was a hit: Ralf H., a 53-Year-old from Münster, at the time of the murder in the vicinity of the crime scene had lived. 25 years after he should have killed the schallaburg, he was accused of the murder.

The process against Ralf H. will be held in the district court of Dortmund, it is a well-attended process, many Acquaintances and friends of the Schallas come. Ralf H., a large man with black, a ponytail bound hair and Moustache, sits, surrounded by its defenders, to the left of the presiding judge, to him the public Prosecutor and the court, consisting of Joachim and Sigrid Schalla, the parents of Nicole-Denise, and their lawyer, Arabella Pooth is. From the man who is accused of murdering her daughter, disconnect hardly five meters.

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H. was defended largely by himself, he does it with the fury of an Innocent – whether he is there or not. Again and again he takes the floor, with the murder of the schallaburg, which he has done from the beginning, clearly, he had nothing to do with it. On several occasions his lawyers have already applied for temporary bail, H. wanted to leave the court for biased explain. The applications were all rejected.

H. sat in the past decades, many years in prison, he was convicted because he had attacked women. Once he was at a WG-Party, he knew no one, a woman on the toilet followed. There, he beat her, completely out of nowhere, with a beer bottle. Then he grabbed her head by the hair and hit him several times against a wall. He only stopped when another visitor in the Party wanted to use the toilet.

Also in his deeds against women. h. violence applied, in addition, they had two characteristics in common: they took place in Public and were directed against women, the h. not at all or only very fleetingly knew. This fits both with the case of Schalla, who was murdered with a high probability, next to a road, and previously had no relationship to Ralf H. had had.

Nevertheless, a psychiatric evaluator in the process to the conclusion that the pattern of the previous deeds, Ralf s, not to passe the of the murder of the schallaburg. This is because, unlike the perpetrators in schallaburg, in the case of the pants and the sweater were pushed up, have Ralf H., the assessor is shown in his attacks on women, sexual Motivation is not. Also, the phantom image, which was drawn from the schallaburg following passenger, fit, not so that it would support a conviction – the Person he could be, but at least just as well be somebody else entirely.

skin scales are the most Important in the process

So the process depends on the shed skin. The first is, in the meantime, a second came, which was found on a track carrier, taken in 1993 from the thigh Schallas, also clearly is, to assign. But this also means that H. Schalla has touched? Or his DNA may be reached in other Ways on your skin?

It is these questions that will decide whether Ralf H. will probably be sent to prison for life, there are these questions, the answers to which makes him a murderer or not.

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It could be, say, Ralf H. and his defenders, that the schallaburg have taken his DNA trace on the eve on the Bus, after all, the two were often the same line on the road. This one could imagine, for example, like this: Ralf H. clinging to a pole on the Bus, the surrounds later, the schallaburg. It takes its skin, scales, scratches, then head to the bar and spread the DNA.

Very unlikely, say the experts, because it is known that the schallaburg changed on a daily basis was in the shower and in the stables the clothes. Not to be ruled out but it is not.

It could also be, say h and his defenders, that the actual murderer had transferred the DNA from the body of the schallaburg. This could happen, for example, if H. had embraced the murderer of the schallaburg, this skin scales have transferred that would have been lost, the offender then, in turn, in the case of the murder on the schallaburg.

Very unlikely, say the experts, because you then need to actually have the DNA of the Transmitter to Schallas body. But it could not be ruled out.

Very unlikely, but not ruled out – is that enough to may be the murderer of a young woman run?

Annual death indicator

And also: to condemn, on the basis of these assessments a person to a potentially life-long prison sentence? To say

that it has not made the lives of the couple Schalla easily, would be a considerable understatement. After Nicole-Denise Schalla he was murdered, died, the second daughter to cancer. Since the murder of Nicole-Denise, the parents are consistently in a psychological treatment, before the start of the process, you could be upset by the news of the supposed discovery of the murderer in a mental hospital.

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The murder of your daughter have the Schallas never. Each year since her death, they advertised in the local newspaper, the “Ruhr Nachrichten”, a death notice for her murdered daughter.

13. October 2012:

it’s really been so long?


In love

mom and dad

Your sister, Janina

and Your grandma

14. October 2015:

the Wind blows a leaf from the tree,

of many leaves of a.

This is a sheet, you barely notice it,

because one is none.

But this one leaf alone

was part of us’rem life,

this drum is a sheet alone

missed again and again.

We miss you!

In love

mom, dad, and Damian

The parents were convinced, says in addition to lawsuit-lawyer Arabella Pooth, Ralf H. was the killer of their daughter.

of a Possible acquittal

If the accused speaks in the process room, is based Joachim Schalla, a rather small man with grey hair and Beard, his elbows on the table, clasped his arms together, and buries his head underneath it. The process days are just hard to bear for the Schallas says Pooth, you have actually only one question: when was this sitedining finally comes to an end?

Initially, four negotiations were scheduled days, now there are 14, once was even processed on a Saturday, the situation is convoluted to. The defence of H. has made several requests, in early July, the judgment was to fall.

It would be a disaster for the Schallas, says lawyer Pooth, if Ralf H. would free. But it is possible.