German police say they have solved a grisly murder mystery that has captivated the country since Saturday, when two adults and three children in COVID-19 quarantine were found shot to death in their family home in Brandenburg.
Police originally said the children also suffered stab wounds, but later revised that detail without further explanation. They also originally thought the family may have been murdered by an outsider but late Sunday revealed it was a quadruple murder-suicide.
It is not known exactly when they died.
On Tuesday, police revealed they found a suicide note in the family home that shed new light on the brutal crime. In that note, they said, the 40-year-old man confessed to killing his wife and three children because his wife’s employer discovered he had faked both of their COVID-19 vaccination cards in order to go to work.
CNN reports that he had apparently ordered the fake certificates online, which has been an increasingly popular scam as more countries require proof of vaccination for work and leisure activities.
Chief Public Prosecutor Gernot Bantleon told reporters authorities were called to the home around noon on Saturday after a neighbor had seen lifeless bodies through a window of the home. The children, aged 4, 8, and 10, had previously been in contact with the neighbor through the window, which caused the neighbor to peer inside, according to several German press reports.
Bantleon said that in the suicide note, the father wrote that he and his wife feared his children could be taken away from them after the man’s employer discovered he faked his COVID-19 vaccination certificates and threatened to call the police. It is thought the man was terminated from his job, which also led to his despair.
As German cases soared last month, the government made vaccines mandatory for all workers. It is unclear whether the man's wife or children had been inoculated or why they were quarantining.
If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741