Five children found dead at apartment in Germany

Mother (27) suspected of killing children at home in city of Solingen, say authorities

German police suspect that five children found dead in their home in western Germany were killed by their mother.

The 27-year-old mother of six – three girls and three boys – later made an apparent attempt to take her own life at Düsseldorf central train station and was in a critical condition on Thursday night.

The dead children lived in an apartment block in Solingen, 20km east of Düsseldorf, and were girls aged one, two and three; the boys were aged six and eight. A sixth boy aged 11 survived, after he was taken by his mother to the train station.

Afterwards the boy reportedly took a train to the city of Mönchengladbach, 20km west of Düsseldorf, where his grandmother lived. She informed police in Solingen of the killings.


Some 40 police remained in the social housing development in Solingen on Thursday evening, examining a scene that local police chief Markus Röhrl described as “harrowing”.

“We can say nothing yet about the motive,” said a police spokesman, adding it was unclear how the children died. “The mother still has to be questioned.”

She was under police guard at a Düsseldorf hospital on Thursday night and had not regained consciousness.

A neighbour said the woman had lived with her children for five years in the apartment and had not attracted attention.

“They held the door open and it was quiet in their apartment,” said the unnamed neighbour to the local Rheinische Post newspaper.

Herbert Reul, interior minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, spoke of his "great sadness; my thoughts and prayers are with the five small children, ripped so terribly early from life".

Solingen's mayor Tim Kurzbach laid a candle outside the apartment and lead a minute's silence at the housing development. Afterward he said the tragedy had "hit us hard in the heart".

Derek Scally

Derek Scally

Derek Scally is an Irish Times journalist based in Berlin