Order of Events on the Day of Tristan’s Murder

26 March 1998, Liederbach Tunnel near train station Höchst, Frankfurt am Main

On Thursday, 26 March 1998, the 13-year-old Tristan Brübach is brutally murdered in Frankfurt-Höchst.

Tristan had planned to go to the doctor that morning because his back ached but then first went to school after all. After lunch his teacher gave him permission to leave school at 1:30 pm to go to the doctor.

Tristans leaves his school earlier

One of his classmates saw Tristan getting onto a bus near the school. He was sitting in the last row and left in the direction of Höchst railway station.

Between 2 and 2:30 pm Tristan was seen sitting in the bus by his best friend Boris. One student saw Tristan alone on a bench at Höchst station around 14:15 or 14:25 pm.

Seen alive for the last time

Around 3:20 pm Tristan was last seen alive by a female witness as he was sitting on a park bench in the Bruno-Asch-Park near Höchst station. He patted the dog of the witness. As she continued on her way, she saw two men – probably foreign – sat down next to Tristan on the bench.

Probably between around 3:20 and 3:30 pm Tristan must have left in western direction toward the southern entrance of the Liederbach Tunnel. The tunnel is underneath a train-overpass and was often used as shortcut at that time.

The distance between the Bruno-Asch-Park and the southern entrance of the tunnel is about 100 meters (a little over 110 yards), which means about 5 minutes walk. It is unknown whether Tristan first meets his still unidentified murderer near the tunnel. But police is sure that Tristan knew his murderer. They cannot asses the intimacy of the relationship however. The investigators assume that Tristan’s meeting with the perpetrator that day was possibly prearranged and that he voluntarily went to the tunnel with him. As Tristan was living north of the tunnel, he might also have used it as shortcut on his way home.
Tristan Brübachs Schule in Frankfurt
Tristan's school: Meisterschule, Herbert-von-Meister-Str. 5
in Frankfurt Sindlingen. (© Mordfall-Tristan.de, 2019)
Tristan Brübach Bus Stop at Allesinastraße
Bus stop Allesinastraße near Tristan's school.
(© Mordfall-Tristan.de, 2019)
Bruno-Asch-Anlage am Bahnhof Höchst
Bruno-Asch-Park near Höchst station, ca. 400 meters distance
from the crime scene. (© Mordfall-Tristan.de, 2019)
Crime Scene and surrounding in the Murder case of Tristan
Aerial photograph of the area surrounding the crime scene close to Höchst station.
(© 2019 Google / 2009 GeoBasis DE/BKG)

Course of Events

Tristan dies at the southern entrance of the Liederbach Tunnel. After heavy violence in the form of blows to his face, the unknown perpetrator strangled Tristan in a stranglehold until he lost consciousness. Finally, he cut Tristan’s throat, almost decapitating him. He let the body bleed out in the Liederbach. The murderer then pulled Tristan’s lifeless body into the tunnel. There he removed skin and muscle tissue from the buttocks and thighs with precise cuts using a knife. He also removed the testicles by performing a professional cut along the pubic bone.

Instead of leaving the scene quickly after the murder, the offender placed the body on the concrete base inside the tunnel. He pulled the jacket over Tristan’s head so that his face was covered. The offender also pulled Tristan’s trousers back up and placed the shoes on hips and thighs to hide the cuts. He went back to entrance of the tunnel to get one of Tristan’s shoes that he had lost there. It is unclear what his intention was. The so-called “un-doing” – a forensic term describing an attempted “reparation” – is a possible theory.

Tristan’s Body is Found

Three teenagers were on a playground near the north entrance of the tunnel (close to Adelonstraße 31).

Around 3:30 pm they planned to use the tunnel as shortcut to the station. As they were entering the tunnel they saw the silhouette of a male person bending over something on the concrete pedestal and they decided to rather take the long route. The police assume that the youngsters were watching the murderer commit his crime without realizing what they were witnessing.
Am Südeingang des Liederbachtunnels wurde Tristan ermordet
The southern entrance of the Liederbach Tunnel in Frankfurt-Höchst. Tristan died
in front of the entrance area of the tunnel. (© PP Frankfurt, 1998)
Ermittlungen am Tatort Liederbachtunnel
A view into the Liederbach tunnel. (© PP Frankfurt, 1998)
Crime Scene and surrounding in the Murder case of Tristan
Aerial photograph of the surroundings near the northern tunnel entrance.
(© 2019 Google / 2009 GeoBasis DE/BKG)
The offender probably needed about 15 to 20 minutes to murder Tristan, mutilate the body and lay it out.

At around 4:00 pm two children who were planning to cross the tunnel discovered Tristan’s body and alarmed a grown-up. This person went to the crime scene himself to verify the story, therefore an emergency call to the police was not issued until 5:00 pm.

The offener emptied Tristan’s school bag at the southern entrance of Liederbach Tunnel. While doing so he left the most important trace: A fingerprint in Tristan’s blood on one of his school books. Furthermore the perpetrator wiped a bloody knife with a serrated blade on one of the notebooks. He might have transported the extracted body parts in the school bag which he took with him, this could not be proven without doubt, though. The whereabouts of the knife and the body parts are still unknown.
Tristan Schulsachen lagen am Tatort verstreut.
The contents of Tristan’s backpack: school books and notebooks.
(© PP Frankfurt, 1998)
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Der Nordeingang des Liederbachtunnels 2019
© Mordfall-Tristan.de, 2019

Further information on Liederbach Tunnel and more pictures

Further information on Liederbach Tunnel and more pictures

Further Events After the Day of the Crime

Tristan Brübachs Rucksack wurde in Niedernhausen gefunden.
© PP Frankfurt

Tristan‘s Backpack is Found

On 25 March 1999 a witness reported to the police that he had found Tristan’s school bag in a wooded area close to Niedernhausen (about 35 km away from the crime scene in Frankfurt-Höchst).

Grabschändung an Tristans Brübachs Grab
© PP Frankfurt / SPIEGEL TV

Tristan‘s Grave is Desecrated

During the night from 7 to 8 October an unknown person tried to gain access to Tristan’s coffin.

Das Phantombild des Tatverdächtigen
© PP Frankfurt

The Police Searches with a Facial Composite

Since 2008 police have searched for the offender using a facial composite. Several witnesses reported seeing a blonde man with a ponytail and a scar.

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