Suspect in killing of banker's son confesses

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

FRANKFURT, Germany -- A law student arrested for kidnapping and murdering the 11-year-old son of a prominent banker confessed Monday, the man's defense attorney and a prosecutor said.

Magnus Gaefgen, 27, made a "full and comprehensive" confession during questioning by investigators, said defense attorney Hans-Ulrich Endres.

The body of Jakob von Metzler was found outside Frankfurt on Oct. 1, after Gaefgen gave officials the location. He was arrested Sept. 30 after Jakob was not released despite payment of the ransom.

The crime shocked Germany, and 800 jammed into a memorial service Friday while some 1,000 listened on loudspeakers outside.

Investigators have gathered clues from the lake some 40 miles northeast of Frankfurt where the boy's body was recovered and from the forest where the authorities said they observed Gaefgen picking up the ransom paid by the boy's father, private banker Friedrich von Metzler.

Prosecutor Rainer Schilling said Monday that Gaefgen had described the crime from the planning stage to the disposal of the body, and said he faced more questioning Tuesday.

Neither Schilling nor Endres offered a motive.

Police say they found the entire ransom of about $1 million in the suspect's apartment.

The family-owned Metzler Bank, based in Frankfurt, is one of Germany's oldest banks and has been in business 325 years.

Friedrich von Metzler belongs to the 11th generation of the founding family, which still owns and runs the bank, according to the bank's Web site.

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