As the title suggests, Netflix’s ‘Dig Deeper: The Disappearance of Birgit Meier’ is a documentary series that chronicles the 1989 vanishing of a 41-year-old photographer, who was last seen alive inside her home in Lüneburg, Germany. Apart from Birgit’s past and the confounding aftermath of this incident, this four-part show also highlights the lives of her identified suspects, including convicted felon and suspected serial killer Kurt-Werner Wichmann. It’s indisputable that some of Kurt’s actions had been downright cruel in the past, so now, if you wish to know more about him, we’ve got you covered.
Who Was Kurt-Werner Wichmann?
Born on July 8, 1949, Kurt-Werner Wichmann never had a simple or ordinary life. According to the limited production, he primarily grew up in temporary housing for low-income families without heating or sewage and was surrounded by his uncaring mother and violent father. This dynamic led to Kurt’s social isolation, which drove him to find solace in the nearby forest by the time he was ten. That’s where he first started showing signs of his violent tendencies by hurting, killing, and burying animals, whether they be birds or frogs. It appeared as if hiding things underneath the ground was his go-to.
Kurt’s school presence wasn’t great either, so he was sent into the foster care system once it became apparent that his parents couldn’t afford to raise him well. Unfortunately, that didn’t help, and he committed his first known serious offense against a human at the age of 14. Using a glass cutter, he broke into the Wichmann’s subtenant’s residence and allegedly got on the bed to choke the matriarch. She survived thanks to the cries of her toddler in the nearby crib, and in court, Kurt stated that his intention was only to steal money. He was sentenced to a year in juvie but fled when he was due in jail.
Kurt’s next crime came a year after he escaped, in 1970, when he raped and attempted to kill a 17-year-old hitchhiker. Although he was 21 and the prosecutors had asked for a 12-year term, he was only ordered to serve five and a half years behind bars and was even released early. For the next 19 years, it was as if Kurt disappeared because he suddenly stopped running into legal trouble. However, as per the Netflix original, what we do know is that he was an attention seeker and a liar who had built his whole life on forged documents, false resumes, and the facade of a happily married man.
After all, Kurt often placed private ads in magazines to seek adventurous sexual partners, using words like “forest” and “woods.” He even had six vehicles registered under his name and had traveled 30,000 kilometers on the road, making it clear that he had no issues going to different places to fulfill his needs. Moreover, despite seeming to lead a comfortable life from the outside, he was always strapped for cash and kept numerous guns both inside his cars and his home, especially in the room only he had access to, as per the show.
Was Kurt-Werner Wichmann Behind Birgit Meier’s and the Göhrde Murders?
According to the documentary, Kurt-Werner Wichmann’s name first came to light when one of Birgit’s colleagues claimed that she had mentioned growing close to a gardener she’d met at a neighbor’s birthday party a few weeks prior. When interrogated, Kurt denied his involvement with Birgit and simply stated that he was walking his dog when asked for an alibi. Around four years later, on February 24, 1993, the detectives finally got a search warrant against him. This step came after his previous offenses were considered.
Instead of facing the officials and the incriminating evidence at his home, though, Kurt fled. He was apprehended following a minor car crash on April 15, 1993, and ten days later, he took his life by hanging himself in his prison cell. Kurt’s suicide note essentially asked his wife to keep his property within the family, which suggested that he didn’t wish for anyone else to dig it up. Years later, in 2017, the reason for this request became evident as Birgit’s body was uncovered from under the floor of the garage of the same.
By that time, as per the show, Kurt’s “secret room” had yielded videotapes that included not only pornography and Nazi-themes but also extensive coverage of Birgit’s case and the Göhrde Murders, which are two double homicides that took place before the former’s disappearance. Upon all that, his property was dug up, and the authorities found about 400 exhibits (wallets, shoes, or handbags) from different people Kurt allegedly harmed over the years and kept as souvenirs. Hence, the cold case unit began investigating his life and possible crimes.
With that, it came to light that Kurt’s DNA was in the car of one of the couple’s killed in the Göhrde forest. This vehicle was initially recovered about two kilometers away from the crime scene, which indicates that Kurt could have driven it there. It is speculated that he used his magazine ads to lure both the couples into the area before brutally slaying them. Moreover, as per the show, he probably had an accomplice who knew about and/or helped him commit these crimes. Yet, that individual has not been formally identified or arrested due to a lack of evidence. To this date, Kurt is only a suspect in the Göhrde murders.
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