A German couple goes into hiding in South America. Two children from previous relationships disappear with him. The parents who stayed behind search desperately. Now there is good news for them.
The month-long search for the two German girls in South America has come to a successful end. The German emigrant couple wanted in Paraguay for child abduction gave themselves up to the police on Thursday (local time), according to lawyers. “Now everything is in order. The search is over. The flight is over, »said a letter from the lawyer Stephan Schultheiss in Paraguay. “Now everyone is happy.”
The couple appeared voluntarily before the police and the public prosecutor’s office and handed over the children. The ten and eleven-year-old girls are now in the care of the Paraguayan authorities.
Police commissioner: “Desired goal has been achieved”
The Paraguayan police published pictures of the refugees with officials and the lawyer. The newspaper “ABC Color” quoted the police commissioner Mario Vallejos as saying: “The desired goal has been achieved.” Apparently the girls are fine. “But we will still subject you to a medical examination.”
The father of one girl and the mother of the other girl are married to each other in their second marriage and emigrated to Paraguay with their two children in November last year without the consent of their respective ex-partners. According to the Paraguayan public prosecutor’s office, the couple had an arrest warrant issued by the international police agency Interpol.
Schultheiss told the German Press Agency on Thursday that he met the wanted couple and girls at an undisclosed location. In a statement from Schultheiss and his Düsseldorf lawyer colleague Ingo Bott, who represent the parents who are looking for their children, there is talk of negotiations over the past few days.
No contact for more than half a year
After there had been no contact for more than half a year and no sign of life from the fugitives and the children, the wanted persons contacted them last Friday via a messenger service. “In many discussions, the realization matured that ending the flight is the only option – especially for the child’s well-being,” the lawyers continued.
Most recently, according to the lawyers, there had been “fruitful talks”. The mother of one girl and the father of the other girl, who come from Essen and Munich, could have phoned their children. Now we shall see each other again soon. The lawyers assume that the children and the wanted couple will be transferred to Germany once the investigations in Paraguay have been completed.
The mother of the ten-year-old girl, who lives in the Ruhr area, asked for help in finding her missing child in an emotional press conference on site. “I’m a desperate mother,” she said in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion. “Have a heart for our girls and help us find them.”
According to the searching mother, the fugitive couple left a farewell letter when they left in November 2021. In it they wrote that there was no future for the girls in Germany and that they did not want to have them vaccinated against the corona virus.
German immigrants in Paraguay
Paraguay can look back on a long tradition of immigration from Germany. Already at the end of the 19th century, many Germans came to the fertile country to start a new life. During the corona pandemic, Paraguay then developed into a Dorado of vaccination opponents, lateral thinkers and right-wing conspiracy ideologues. According to the Paraguayan migration authorities, 3,440 Germans settled in Paraguay last year alone. The German embassy in Asunción estimates that a total of around 26,000 Germans live in Paraguay.
Paraguay is attractive as an immigration country because foreigners, especially from Europe, can easily obtain a residence permit and can also buy land or real estate. Paraguay became interesting for opponents of vaccination during the corona pandemic because you could initially enter the country without proof of vaccination. Many immigrants settle in traditional German communities like San Bernardino, Hohenau, and Bella Vista. Recently, however, new settlements were founded by emigrants from German-speaking countries.
“Life on the run was not what they wanted,” said lawyer Schultheiss when it became known that the German couple wanted would turn themselves in. A few days ago, the fugitives published a video message. “We are now wanted worldwide, like criminals, like murderers, like criminals,” says the man in it. The woman adds: “We just wanted to protect our children. We just want our kids to be okay and now you guys want to separate us.”