A suspect has been arrested in connection with a ten-year-old girl from Brakel in East Westphalia who was missing for several hours.

The child did not come home after school, was reported missing shortly afterwards and was “found alive” in the evening, the police in the Höxter district in North Rhine-Westphalia initially reported without further information. The girl was found in Fritzlar, Hesse, around 80 kilometers away, Bielefeld police and the Paderborn public prosecutor’s office added a little later. “The child is doing well under the circumstances.”

The day after the incident, however, many questions remained unanswered. The police and public prosecutor’s office refrained from making public statements. “In order to protect the personal rights of the child and his family, no further information is currently being provided regarding the exact circumstances of the disappearance,” emphasized the investigators. This also applies to the suspect, age and gender, a police spokesman explained in response to a dpa request.

Suspect arrested in Rhineland-Palatinate

The joint press release with the public prosecutor’s office stated that an “urgent suspect” had been temporarily arrested. But this is meant as a gender-neutral formulation. The police spokesman said it cannot be made public at the moment whether it was a man or a woman. Regarding a report from “Bild” that a man had kidnapped the child, he referred to the family’s personal rights and the ongoing investigations – therefore there will be no statement from the investigating authorities.

The suspect was not arrested in Fritzlar, where the girl was found, but in Rhineland-Palatinate, a spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office said in response to a dpa query. He did not give the exact location. At the same time, investigators appealed: “Out of consideration for the child and her family, the police and the public prosecutor’s office ask that you do not participate in speculation about the crime.”

The police and fire department launched a search operation, in which a sniffer dog was also used. The police had published a photo of the missing girl in the NRW police wanted portal. The authorities appealed to anyone who shared this to delete it again.