German teen bragged on Darknet about stabbing of boy (9)

Marcel Hesse (19) arrested and admitted to killing young neighbour and a second victim

Nine-year-old Jayden answered the knock on the door last Monday evening. It was 6.15pm in the western German city of Herne and at the door was his 19-year-old neighbour, Marcel Hesse.

“He asked Jayden if he’d help him put up a ladder,” said Jayden’s mother Jeanette, out shopping at the time.

Jayden left behind his two 22-year-old twin brothers and headed next door, never to return.

Some 25 minutes later, grinning and covered in blood, Hesse reportedly posted pictures of himself online beside the blond boy’s lifeless body, a mess of 58 stab wounds.


“I just killed the neighbour’s kid, don’t feel bad, my hand is bleeding a little,” posted a user on a message board on Darknet, the internet’s anonymous underbelly favoured by dealers in drugs and weapons.

By the time another user saw the post and contacted the police, Jayden’s mother Jeanette had returned home. Searching for her son, she got no answer when she rang the neighbour’s door.

Her husband and sons forced their way into the house and found Jayden’s body in the cellar. There was no sign of Hesse, who had apparently gone on the run.


Over the following two days, the Darknet user posted rambling messages of a further killing and, in a warning to police pursuing him, threatened a shooting spree in a public place.

During a 72-hour manhunt, with Herne’s schools and kindergartens in lockdown, unconfirmed reports say he posted further messages online: an audio message describing how he had killed Jayden, and claims to have killed again – a “120 kg beast”.

“I know, too, that people die slowly when you butcher them,” he wrote.

The manhunt ended just after 9pm on Thursday. After over 1,400 tip-offs and reporting sightings all over the region, Hesse entered a Greek fast food restaurant in Herne. With one hand bound in a makeshift bandage, the other carrying an umbrella and a net of onions, the black-clad man ordered owner Georgios Chaitidis to call the police.

“They’re looking for me,” he said. Minutes later police led Hesse away in handcuffs as, 150m away, a fire broke out in a first-floor apartment.

A fire crew discovered a second, male, body in the apartment. Neighbours told the Bild tabloid they heard a loud bang before seeing smoke emerge from the apartment where a young man lived alone.

“The arrested person contacted the police and made reference to a fire in Herne,” said a police spokesman on Friday.

In overnight questioning, the 19-year-old confessed to the killing of Jayden and a 22 year-old man in the apartment, a friend who had taken him in.

An initial investigation revealed Hesse had been drinking and taken ecstasy on top of other prescription drugs. According to police he said he had suffered for years from mental problems and may have been suicidal at the time of the killing.

Derek Scally

Derek Scally

Derek Scally is an Irish Times journalist based in Berlin