- German prosecutors say a 23-year-old woman scoured Instagram for a lookalike.
- She is accused of murdering her doppelganger in an elaborate plot to fake her own death.
- Prosecutors said the woman wanted to hide due to “internal family disputes”.
German prosecutors believe a young woman participated in an elaborate murder plot to stage her own death.
Prosecutors say the 23-year-old German-Iraqi woman, identified only as Sharaban K, scoured social media for a lookalike and then murdered her lookalike as part of the scheme, The Guardian reported.
Prosecutors said Sharaban K used fake Instagram accounts to track down the woman, according to German newspaper Bild, and then arranged to meet her last August.
On August 16, 2022, police found a body covered in blood and with more than 50 stab wounds in the back of a Mercedes in Ingolstadt, southern Germany, The Times of London reported.
Police initially identified the victim as Sharaban K, with her parents believing it to be their daughter, Bild reported.
(In the reports, victims and defendants were referred to only by their first names and an initial, as is customary in the German legal system.)
However, following an autopsy report, police identified the victim as Khadidja O, 23, an Algerian beauty blogger from Eppingen in neighboring Baden-Württemberg state, according to The Guardian.
Police said Khadidja O and Sharaban K looked “strikingly alike”, according to The Guardian, leading the German press to call the story a “look-alike murder”.
There has been speculation in German tabloids about the motive for the murder, but Monday’s Bild report marks the first intervention by authorities.
“After the investigation, it can be assumed that she wanted to go into hiding due to internal family disputes and faked her own death,” Veronika Grieser of the Ingolstadt state prosecutor’s office said, per Bild.
Grieser said that on the day of the crime, Sharaban K, along with a friend, Sheqir K, picked up the victim in their car, drove her to a forest near Ingolstadt and allegedly stabbed her to death, according to Bild.
Sharaban K was arrested by Bavarian police, with the man accused of being her accomplice, on August 19, 2022.
Arrest warrants against the couple, which allow for the initiation of criminal proceedings, were issued on January 26 and 27, following an investigation, prosecutors said.
“It was an extraordinary case that required all the skills of the investigators,” local police spokesman Andreas Aichele told German newspaper Bild.
He added: “We don’t have a case like this every day – especially with such a spectacular turn. The day we found the body, we didn’t expect it to turn out like this. “
If convicted, both men face life sentences.