German man found alive and well in Switzerland 18 years after his disappearance

German man found alive and well in Switzerland 18 years after his disappearance

Popularised by the von Trapp family in The Sound of Music, leaving everything behind and relocating to Switzerland is a trope that is mostly consigned to history. However, this was not the case for one German citizen, who was found living in the alpine nation by Swiss police 18 years after his disappearance and supposed death.

German man went missing in 2004

According to 20 Minuten, the man in question was first reported missing by his wife in 2004. The pair had recently emigrated to Spain and started a new business selling cars, but trouble started after the man said that he had to return to Munich on a business trip. Sometime later, the man was reported missing.

After an extensive search by German police, which led them to within 100 metres of the Swiss border in Konstanz, the authorities called off the search. At the time, the emergency services said that their evidence suggested a suicide or violent crime, and that therefore they presumed the man to be dead.

Supposedly dead man was living in Switzerland for 18 years

Then, 18 years after the original investigation, police in Canton Schwyz identified the holder of a Swiss residence permit who matched the name and identity of the missing man. A special “cold case” cell was launched in collaboration with German and Spanish police in order to identify the person. Now, according to a spokesperson from police in the canton, they have their man.

It turns out that the man has been living and working in Switzerland ever since his disappearance, and that he has no intention of reuniting with his family. Despite using police resources to find the individual, the German commissioner in charge of the investigation told 20 Minuten that “if someone leaves their old life behind, it doesn't concern us, it's private and we don't ask questions”, so he was free to go. All the man asked is that the police inform his wife that he is not, in fact, dead.

Image: / marekusz

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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