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Peggy Knobloch: Man admits dumping missing German girl’s body

Peggy Knobloch: Man admits dumping missing German girl's body

a photograph of a little blonde haired-blue-eyed girl on a grave headstone reading Peggy Knobloch 1992-2001

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Getty Images

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Peggy Knobloch's image is on a headstone in Bavaria that stands above an empty grave

Prosecutors say a man has admitted dumping the body of a nine-year-old girl, whose disappearance 17 years ago is one of Germany's biggest mysteries.

Peggy Knobloch went missing in 2001 on her way home from school in Bavaria. Her remains were only found in 2016.

Manuel S denies killing Peggy, telling police he took her body from another man, then buried her in nearby woods.

He has not been charged so far but is being investigated for murder, prosecutors said Friday.

One man served jail time for Peggy's murder but was later acquitted in a retrial.

What happened then?

Peggy Knobloch disappeared when walking home from primary school on 7 May 2001.

A huge search was mounted with police and army officers searching as far as Czech Republic and Turkey, in the belief she may have been kidnapped.

She was not found until July 2016, when mushroom pickers came across her bones in a thickly wooded part of Thuringia state.

What's the latest?

The latest breakthrough in the case comes a week after police raided Manuel S's home.

In his confession to police, the 41-year-old said another man directed him to Peggy's lifeless body at a bus stop in her hometown of Lichtenberg.

After failing to revive her, the then 24-year-old wrapped her in a red blanket and drove her into a nearby forest. A few days later, he burned her satchel and jacket at home.

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Jens-Ulrich Koch/Getty

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Manuel S claims he found Peggy's body at a bus stop close to her family home

Prosecutors told reporters that the suspect had been released, as "there was no immediate suspicion". They confirmed Manuel S had named the other man at the bus stop.

They declined to reveal further information, including on possible cause of death, saying: "The investigations are progressing."

German media note that the suspect cannot be charged with anything other than murder, as the statute of limitation for lesser charges has passed.

False leads

Two years ago, DNA traces from a notorious neo-Nazi who died in 2011 were found in the woods where Peggy was found, however a connection was never proven.

In 2002, a local man with a learning disability was accused of killing her to cover up that he had sexually abused her. He withdrew his confession but was jailed for life in 2004. He spent his imprisonment in a psychiatric hospital.

Ten years later, his conviction was overturned and he was later freed.

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