A German nurse currently imprisoned for killing patients he injected with lethal doses of medicine before trying to revive them is now a suspect in at least 84 other murder cases, officials said Monday.
Niels Hoegel, 40, was sentenced to life in prison in February 2015 after he admitted administering overdoses of heart medication to some patients. At the time, he said he had done so to about 90 people of the 130 to 200 people for whom he provided care. Officials then launched a further investigation.
During his 2015 trial, he said he acted to show off his excellent skills at resuscitation, and admitted to acting on impulse when he gave drugs to those who were ailing. Prosecutors alleged that he acted because he was bored.
“The findings continue to breach any imagination,” said Oldenburg Police Chief Johann Kuhme. “It is simply not possible to say how many people were killed.”
Kuhme said that Hoegel’s victims crimes go back to 1999, and that some who died have been cremated.
“The realization of what we were able to learn is horrifying,” Kuhme said. “It defies any scope of the imagination.”
Kuhme said that Hoegel’s spree could have been cut short.
“The killings could have been prevented if the people responsible at the time — and I stress at the time — particularly at the Oldenburg clinic but also later on in Delmenhorst hadn’t hesitated to alert authorities, for example the state prosecution,” he said.
Police believe Hoegel killed 36 patients in Oldenburg between 1999 and 2001, and another 48 people from the hospital in Delmenhorst.
If verified, the toll of victims would make Hoegel the most prolific murderer in post-World War II Germany.
“The death toll is unique in the history of the German republic,” said chief police investigator Arne Schmidt, who said the selection of victims appeared to be random.
There was “evidence for at least 90 murders, and at least as many (suspected) cases again that can no longer be proven”, he said. (For more from the author of “New Report Concludes Nurse May Be Postwar Germany’s Most Prolific Killer” please click HERE)