Friedrich Felzmann is alive. At least that’s what the murder investigators at the Styrian State Criminal Police Office are assuming. You have to assume that, because there is no evidence of the death of the 66-year-old at the time of the crime. Investigators have followed up 530 leads so far. Forests, huts, tunnels and buildings were searched, but there is only one trace of Felzmann. It ends in the middle of the forest, nine kilometers from the crime scene. The pensioner had parked his getaway vehicle there. Since then he has been swallowed up by the earth.
On October 29, 2017, the day Felzmann aimed his small-caliber rifle at three people in Stiwoll, everything should have been clarified by now. A day earlier, his daughters had agreed to talk to the neighbors. The beekeeper had been at loggerheads with them for years, bringing lawsuits that were all dismissed. On October 28, the tiresome discussion about the passage through the Felzmann estate should have come to an end. The 66-year-old left the house on the advice of his daughters. But the debate was postponed by a day.
When Felzmann found out about this, he again promised not to be there – and went into the barn. There he waited almost two hours before meeting at the property line. When the neighbors showed up, he fired nine shots in ambush. The 55-year-old Adelheid H. and the 64-year-old Gerhard E. died on the spot, Martina Z., 68 years old, survived with serious injuries. Felzmann fled in his van. The car was only found in the forest 24 hours later – and the largest manhunt in Austrian criminal history began.
Hints are getting fewer
There are still indications today, says chief inspector Harald Winkler from the body and life group in the Styrian state police headquarters. In 2018 there were still 118, a year later only 23. This year there have been 18 so far. Felzmann was seen in the USA, South America, Asia, Hungary, Germany, Slovenia, Italy and Lithuania. The evidence did not stand up to scrutiny. “Personally, I would like to be able to question Felzmann about what happened. But it is what it is,” says Winkler. In any case, the case had an impact on the equipment and organization of the police. There have been some improvements here. “I dare to say that today it would be more difficult to escape like it was then,” says state police director Gerald Ortner.