Remains found of wife of Danish priest charged with murder

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The remains of a 43-year-old woman discovered in Denmark have been confirmed as belonging to the wife of Danish Lutheran priest, who already faced a murder charge and directed investigators to the body, police said Friday.

Thomas Gotthard, 44, reported in October that his wife, Maria From Jakobsen, had left the couple’s home in Frederikssund in a depressed state of mind. The priest’s arrest three weeks later made news in Denmark, where a majority of the population belongs to the state Lutheran church.

He was detained after investigators found hydrochloric acid and caustic soda in the home, as well as internet searches for words like “sea depth,” “oil barrels,” “suicide,” “disappeared” and “cleaning” on the couple’s computer.

Police said in April they had enough evidence to charge Gotthard with his wife’s murder even though From Jakobsen’s body had not been found. Investigator Jakob Rahbek said the remains located early this month northwest of Copenhagen. not far from the couple’s home, were “of great importance to the case.”

Rahbek said he could not give further details because of Gotthard’s pending trial, scheduled to start Oct. 25. Gotthard remains in custody.

A Nov. 6 surveillance video from a recycling station showed Gotthard moving a large barrel on a hand truck 11 days after his wife disappeared.

Police asked for information from witnesses who have may have seen the family’s two cars and a trailer. Investigators carried out extensive searches with dogs in a forest, a lake and other locations.

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