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U.S. woman dies, another injured after being pushed down gorge by man at German castle

Click to play video: 'American man jailed for life over brutal rape, murder of U.S. tourist near German castle in 2023'
American man jailed for life over brutal rape, murder of U.S. tourist near German castle in 2023
WATCH: An American man was sentenced to life in prison by a German court on Monday for the rape and murder of a tourist and the attempted murder of her friend, both from the U.S., in a brutal attack near the country's most famous tourist destination, the Neuschwanstein Castle – Mar 11, 2024

An American man is in police custody after he allegedly pushed two women down a 50-metre gorge near Germany‘s Neuschwanstein Castle on Wednesday, killing a 21-year-old U.S. traveller.

The unnamed 21-year-old woman died in hospital as a result of her injuries, local police said Thursday. Her travelling companion, a 22-year-old American woman, was seriously injured and is still in the hospital.

Police said the two women were visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, a popular tourist destination in Bavaria, and decided to hike near the historic Marienbrücke, or Mary’s Bridge, a common pedestrian vantage point.

The two women allegedly met the suspect, a 30-year-old American man, in the area, state prosecutor Thomas Hörmann told reporters on Thursday. He said the unidentified man persuaded the women to follow him down a separate hiking trail for another viewpoint of the Disney-like castle.

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Police do not believe the women and the man knew each other previously. Once isolated from the main trail, the man allegedly attacked the 21-year-old woman.

Hörmann said the attack was likely an attempted sexual assault against the younger American.

“The 22-year-old wanted to help, whereupon he strangled her and pushed her down the incline,” Hörmann said, according to The Guardian.

Afterward, the 21-year-old was also pushed into the gorge.

The two American women were found by the Füssen mountain rescue service and airlifted to hospital. The 22-year-old was reportedly responsive when they were rescued. She remains in serious condition. The 21-year-old woman died in hospital Thursday night.

The attacker allegedly fled the scene on Wednesday but was arrested shortly after on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and attempted sexual assault. He was found in the area around the castle during a large manhunt and was seen in handcuffs as he was escorted away by police. A witness told The Associated Press the suspect had visible scratches on his face at the time of his arrest.

The man has not yet been charged but appeared in front of a Kempten District Court on Thursday.

Police are now asking for anyone with pictures or videos of the three Americans to submit them to authorities.

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“We are looking for photographs which, by chance, show two young women and a man (approx. 30 years old) who were staying east of the Marienbruecke,” Kempten police said on their website. “These persons may have been walking together or separately.”

The U.S. Embassy in Germany told CNN they are “aware” of the incident involving three people and are “monitoring the situation closely.”

The Neuschwanstein Castle is the most famous castle built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the 19th century, and served as the inspiration for the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. It is sometimes colloquially referred to as “the Disney castle.”

— With files from The Associated Press

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