Woman in psychiatric care after killings at German residency for acute disabled

    A woman accused of killing four people in a disabled care home in Potsdam has been sent to a psychiatric clinic, prosecutors said on Thursday.

    Wilfried Lehmann chief prosecutor in the city in Brandenburg, near Berlin, said a judge had sectioned the long-serving 51-year-old employee of the home.

    Investigators, led by the police murder squad, were still at the “very start” of their probe, he said.

    The 60 disabled residents and 80 staff of the Thusnelda-von-Salden House were in bewilderment, said Pastor Matthias Fichtmüller who heads the Oberlinhaus campus in Potsdam’s Babelsberg district. The house is part of the German Protestant church’s Diakonie charitable network, active nationwide and abroad.

    They were “shaken to the core,” said the pastor. “All human emotions sway us during these hours,” leaving the therapeutic community “jarred in its self-image” but still having to carry on functioning in caring for its needy. 

    On Wednesday evening, four acutely disable residents were found dead in various rooms with fatal wounds. A knife had been used, claimed the tabloid Bild.

    The injuries of all victims were due to “severe external violence,” stated police, without detailing the means. Also found was a fifth survivor with severe injuries.


    Local media reported the victims were stabbed. Police would not verify this


    Therapeutic “home”

    The house was “family,” said Fichtmüller. “This has already knocked our legs out.”

    Investigators said an emergency call triggered Wednesday’s first responder turnout, resulting in the immediate arrest of the suspect.

    Attending devotions near the residency on Thursday evening, Dietmar Woidke, Social Democrat (SPD) premier of Brandenburg said he was “deeply saddened.” 

    “It’s an indescribable crime,” said Potsdams SPD mayor Mike Schubert, pledging close support for Thusnelda-von-Saldern house community, which includes people with multiple disabilities and two residents living there since their childhoods.

    “We are appalled and shocked by this crime against the weakest and most vulnerable in our diaconal house,” said Protestant church bishop for Berlin-Brandenburg, Christian Stäblein,

    Among an array of flowers, one improvised plague asked: “God, why?” Another stated “The world has collapsed upon us. We can’t comprehend it.”

    Residents of the Diakonie facility were integrated into public life in Babelsberg, often to be seen in the local park or navigating the local supermarket in their wheelchairs. 

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