When Nora Feller (26 *) was found, she was kneeling on the floor, her head stuck in the loop of two knotted scarves, tied to a beam. Neighbors had alerted the police and wondered about the stench that came from the apartment. It was immediately clear to the police: suicide and homicide had been ruled out. A quick investigation, a quick autopsy, the case was over.
But Nora’s parents in Berlin do not want to come to terms with it until today, 14 years after the young woman’s death. In addition to the mourning for her daughter, uncertainty and doubts gnaw at the official version. Marianne and Werner Feller *) believe that Nora was killed by her ex-boyfriend at the time. To reopen the case and find new evidence, they turned to the well-known profiler Axel Petermann (68).
The Nora Feller case is one of three unexplained deaths that Petermann presents in his new book “On behalf of the dead – Cold Cases: A Profiler Determined” (Heyne-Verlag, published on September 13).
In an interview with BILD he explains what he has found out, how he assesses the work of the investigators there – and what conclusion he comes to: “There are many inconsistencies and the traces at the crime scene cannot be explained with suicide”.
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Searching for traces in Greece
During his research in Greece, Petermann met his parents’ lawyer, spoke to witnesses, inspected the investigation files – and tried to put the puzzle together around Nora’s death.
Nora Feller met a Greek musician while on vacation and emigrated to Athens in 2001. “There she studied literature, spoke almost perfect Greek and also dreamed of a career as a singer. She was hoping for support from her boyfriend, ”says the profiler.
But the relationship with the 23-year-old man was complicated: “A few weeks before her death, she separated and wanted to move in with a fellow student on July 1st. Her singing teacher said he was a macho. But whether he ever became violent towards Nora – unclear ”, summarizes Petermann.
According to Greek investigators, she visited her ex-boyfriend again in his apartment on June 25 – a farewell visit. He wanted to spend the summer as a bar musician in Crete. “When questioned by the police, he stated that there had been an argument, alcohol was also involved. But then she helped him pack, he drove off, Nora stayed in the apartment, ”says Petermann. “Only in a later interrogation did he state that his ex wanted to injure himself with a knife.” But he had nothing to do with the death of his ex-girlfriend.
Without informing the parents of the death of their daughter, the ex organized the burial of the severely decayed body in the Zografou cemetery in Athens. Marianne and Werner Feller only found out two days later from the German embassy that their daughter was no longer alive. As a reason, the musician explained: Nora’s relationship with her parents was not good …
The police investigations, says Petermann, seem superficial and hasty, there is no detailed documentation. Later it turned out that the young woman’s computer, cell phone and diary have disappeared, as have personal items. “But for the police it is actually clear from the start: Nora Feller killed herself.”
During the autopsy – a standard procedure in Greece – the forensic doctor came to the conclusion: suicide. “The autopsy protocol is very brief, just one and a half pages long, without detailed descriptions,” says Petermann.
During his visit, he asked her about a hematoma on her eye or other injuries to her body, these should have been examined – but the doctor dismissed it: This was not done “so as not to tear the dead person apart.”
When Axel Petermann met Nora Feller’s ex-boyfriend in Crete, he was surprised: “I found him more likeable than I thought and his deep dismay seemed real to me. He said, ‘I know your parents suspect me. But tell them: I have nothing to do with it. ‘”
Suspicious evidence at the crime scene
But what exactly happened on the fateful June 25, 2007? Petermann called in a forensic doctor as an expert to analyze the crime scene photos. What he discovered was mysterious: “In some places on the floor and in one of Nora’s shoes, dark drops can be seen, possibly blood, about one and a half meters from the corpse. This is unusual, usually no blood droplets get there when someone dies by hanging, ”he says.
Was there maybe a fight beforehand – and then the victim was draped to look like suicide? Petermann: “I think something happened before that. There are moved floor mats in the bathroom and a knife in the kitchen. An open wound cannot be seen on the corpse, but this is due to the fact that detailed images of the dead are missing and the scarves were still attached to the neck. In addition, the great heat in the apartment had disfigured the body. “
“The Greek lawyer for the victim’s family translated the new forensic medical report and sent it to the public prosecutor in Athens. It remains to be seen whether the case will be reopened. Perhaps the Greek authorities will take over first, if necessary there could be a separate investigation in Germany. “
Nora’s parents hope that the investigation will resume. Axel Petermann: “Time is of the essence, because unlike in Germany, a procedure in Greece has to be completed after 15 years. And the parents want to finally have clarity – even if in the end it turns out that it was definitely not the ex-partner. “
*) Name of victim and parents changed