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Crime News Cold Cases

Who Was Birgit Meier, The Murdered Mother At The Heart Of Netflix's ‘Dig Deeper’?

 Birgit Meier met suspected serial killer Kurt-Werner Wichmann just weeks before she vanished in 1989. 

By Gina Tron
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Birgit Meier’s disappearance gets a renewed look with “Dig Deeper: The Disappearance of Birgit Meier,” a new docuseries that begins streaming on Netflix last week. 

Meier, 41, a mother and talented photographer, vanished mysteriously from her home in Lüneburg, Germany in August of 1989. Initially, investigators believed hat she may run off or have taken her own life, citing stress over her impending divorce. But her family believed she would never desert her daughter Yasmine, and suspected foul play. 

Her husband, a successful entrepreneur named Harald Meier, from whom she was supposed to receive a large sum of money in the divorce, was an immediate suspect in her disappearance. 

But Meier did not simply run off nor was her husband involved.

Her brother, Wolfgang Sielaff, who was the former head of criminal investigations for the Hamburg police, initiated his own private search for Meier starting in 2002, British outlet The Times reported in 2017. He dedicated much of his retirement to this quest, which eventually ended in some closure. His sibling's remains were discovered as a result in 2017 underneath the concrete floor of a garage of a house on the outskirts of Lüneburg. A blue garbage bag had been wrapped around her head, German outlet Der Spiegel reported in 2017. Investigators determined that she had been fatally shot in 1989.

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Suspected serial killer Kurt-Werner Wichmann — who died by suicide in 1993 following a gun possession arrest —  previously owned the home where Meier's body was recovered and he immediately became the main suspect in her murder. 

Meier met Wichmann at a party, just a few weeks before her disappearance. He was questioned at the time and while he displayed odd behavior including wearing gloves the whole interview (he said he'd had an allergic reaction) he was allowed to leave. Detectives finally obtained a search warrant for his home four years later, just a few months before his suicide. In his suicide note, he asked his wife to keep his property within the family.

Within a year of Meier’s vanishing, Wichmann allegedly killed four other people, two couples, in the Lüneburg area. The double murders became known as the "Göhrde murders" and traces of DNA have since linked him to the slayings. Investigators also suspect him in at least 24 other unsolved cases. 

Many answers remain unknown about Meier’s murder. As the docuseries illustrates, officials believe he had an accomplice but that person has not been identified.

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