The small town in North Rhine Westphalia where it all happened is called Freudenberg: as if to say Villa Serena, or Monte Gioia. Slate roofs, a gem on the “Road of Oranges”, a historical itinerary named after the Dutch dynasty, a progressive mayor, a fourteenth-century castle.
The only name and the only known features of this story – due to the strict privacy legislation to which German newspapers are bound in reporting news stories, especially black ones – are those of the dead child:Louise, 12 years old. Long hay-colored hair, uncertain smile, thin, features that were about to change and will now remain permanently childish. Her face clogs German social networks and the homepages of websites; not a syllable came from the family, and only Luise’s school sent a farewell message. “You will be missed, Louise. We lost our pupil, classmate, friend in a weekend. All too soon she was violently torn from her family, and from us. Our thoughts are now with them, with her friends and girlfriends. We wish you much strength.” Of the rest, little is known.
Luise returned home alone, after visiting a friend, around 5.30 on Saturdays. It was the last time she was seen alive. Her body was then found on Sunday, across the regional border with Rhineland-Palatinate (near Freudenberg). Two kilometers from the friend’s house; but in the opposite direction from home. On Monday, the autopsy confirmed her identity and the first news leaked: it would not have been a sexual crime, the child would have been killed “with numerous stab wounds” – knife later found not far away – and according to an indiscretion that ended up later Focus detectives would have been on a trail. Louise, that is, would have been killed by two female peers for a frighteningly age-appropriate motive: revenge for a tease of Luise towards one of them. The involvement of adults is not assumed. Yesterday her confession: not even immediately, however, but only after the interrogation had cornered them on some contradictions.
The two are 13 and 12 years old; under 14 the judiciary cannot even proceed. “It doesn’t mean that nothing will happen to them now,” the prosecutor said. “We are entrusting the case to the juvenile authorities”. So also psychologists, psychiatrists and experts. The two girls are now in a protected facility. Their names are protected by law. And this infuriates the inhabitants of social networks, and of the area, more than Luise’s death moves them: dozens of appeals are connected to the hashtag #Freudenberg to “lower the age of criminal responsibility”, even to 10 years; to “make known the names of the girls”; or “those of the parents”, many roar, “whose education led to this tragedy”.