German police seek tips on fugitive convicted of 1993 murder

BERLIN (AP) — Police have launched a manhunt for a 56-year-old German who went on the run this week after losing his final appeal of a murder conviction for the killing of a teenage girl in 1993.

German news agency dpa on Thursday quoted a spokeswoman for police in the western city of Muenster as saying they had received numerous tips on the man’s possible whereabouts but so far none had led to them to the fugitive.

Police took the rare step Wednesday of publicly issuing an appeal for information on Ralf Hoerstemeier, who was convicted in January of killing 16-year-old Nicole Schalla nearly three decades ago and sentenced to life imprisonment. Germany’s top court recently upheld the verdict.

Authorities released a picture of the man and described him as being 180 centimeters (about 6 feet) tall, weighing about 80 kilograms (176 pounds), and having thinning brown hair and blue-grey eyes.

Hoerstemeier, who was deemed by authorities not to be a flight risk and allowed to remain free pending his appeal, removed his ankle tag Tuesday and has been on the run since, authorities said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether police believed he might have tried to cross the border to neighboring Belgium or the Netherlands.

Dpa reported that prosecutors are investigating whether the man’s partner helped him flee.

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