German police say suspect killed lookalike so she could fake her own death

German police.
(Image credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

A woman in Germany stands accused of murdering another woman who looked like her, with prosecutors saying it's likely she killed her in order to try to fake her own death.

German media has named the suspect as Shahraban K., a 24-year-old German Iraqi woman. She was reported missing last August, when she stopped returning her parents' phone calls. They traveled from Munich to the southern city of Ingolstadt where she lived, and on Aug. 16 discovered her car, with a body inside. Authorities initially said the missing woman had been a "victim of a violent crime," but police spokesman Andreas Aichee told The Washington Post that soon after, "rumors" began swirling that she had been seen driving around Ingolstadt, and DNA and fingerprint evidence from the victim did not match the missing woman.

Authorities soon made a surprise announcement: they had arrested the missing woman and a 23-year-old Kosovan man on suspicion of homicide. German media identified the victim found in the car as Khadija O., a 23-year-old Algerian woman who looked "strikingly similar" to the female suspect.

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On Monday, German prosecutors gave an update on the case, stating that the female suspect wanted to "go into hiding because of a family dispute" and decided to fake her own death. The suspects started looking for women online who looked like her, and chatted with several. Police said the suspects were able to get the victim to agree to meet with them, and after they picked her up from her house in the Heilbronn area, they drove to a wooded area, stabbed her several times, and drove to Ingolstadt, where her body would be found in the car.

The suspects have been in police custody since being arrested in August on suspicion of homicide, and last week new arrest warrants were issued for murder. If convicted, the suspects face life in prison.

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