Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Told investigators she killed the infants out of despair over her inability to pay the bills, and out of fear that having children might drive away her partner
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: 2000 - 2005
Date of arrest: June 2005
Date of birth: 1972
Victims profile: Her four babies
Method of murder: Unknown (stuffed two of her babies in a freezer and entombed two others in concrete-filled buckets)
Location: Graz, Austria
Status: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced to life imprisonment on March 31, 2006

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Austrian jailed for baby murders

BBC News

March 31, 2006

An Austrian woman who stuffed two of her babies in a freezer and entombed two others in concrete has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Gertraud Arzberger, from the city of Graz, was convicted on three counts of murder, after experts said one of the babies may have been still-born.

Her boyfriend, Johannes Genser, 39, was jailed for 15 years as an accessory.

Arzberger, 33, said she had financial problems and feared her partner might leave if she had a baby.

Arzberger, a bookkeeper, told investigators that she gave birth to the children in a bath, but could not remember what happened next.

Partner's denial

Genser denied knowing about her pregnancies, but acknowledged telling her that she would have to leave him if she got pregnant.

Neighbours told the court that her pregnancies had been obvious.

Two of the babies' bodies were found wrapped in plastic and hidden in a freezer in a block of flats in Graz last June.

They were discovered by a neighbour who had reportedly gone to the basement freezer to fetch some ice cream for his children.

The third and fourth were in plastic buckets filled with concrete in a garden shed at the residence, about 200km (120 miles) south of Vienna. They were found by police sniffer dogs.

Neighbours told the court that she had been pregnant a fifth time, but a fifth body has not been found.

Arzberger pleaded guilty to four murders in court.

As he left court in handcuffs Genser sought to propose marriage to Arzberger. "Can I still offer her my hand?" he asked the judge, who replied firmly "No".


Austrian Who Killed Four Infants Gets Life

March 31, 2006

A woman who stuffed two of her infants into a freezer and entombed two more in concrete-filled buckets was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison Friday, closing out a macabre case that stunned this usually tranquil alpine nation.

A court in the southern city of Graz, where the four tiny bodies were discovered in rapid succession last summer, convicted Gertraud Arzberger, 33, of three counts of murder. Her long-term partner was sentenced to 15 years as an accessory.

Arzberger had been tried on five counts but had pleaded guilty to killing only four of her babies, and experts said they could not rule out that one might have been stillborn.

"I'm sorry. I can't make everything all right again," Arzberger said before the verdicts were read out.

Her live-in companion, Johannes Genser, 39, had proclaimed his innocence and insisted he never noticed Arzberger was pregnant. Neighbors, however, had testified that her swollen belly was obvious, and prosecutors said it was implausible to believe he did not know she was carrying the children.

The two were charged in June after police found the bodies of two newborns in a basement freezer shared by residents of an apartment complex in Graz, about 120 miles south of Vienna, and the remains of two more entombed in paint buckets filled with concrete.

Autopsies indicated the two infants found in the freezer were still alive when put inside, wrapped in plastic bags. Tests could not be performed on the two newborns whose remains were sealed in concrete because they had deteriorated too much.

Prosecutors had charged the woman with killing five infants, based on testimony from neighbors who said they saw five pregnancies. But a fifth body was never found, and Arzberger denied ever having a fifth child.

Before the jury returned the verdicts, state attorney Johannes Winklhofer urged the court to deliver a stiff sentence.

"She is a murderer. She killed four babies in a brutal and gruesome fashion," Winklhofer said.

Her partner, he said, "knew everything ... she could not hide her condition from the neighbors, and certainly not from her friend."

Austria has no death penalty, and the minimum sentence for homicide is 10 years.

Multiple homicides are rare in Austria, where the case held many spellbound for months.

The story broke when a neighbor living in the apartment block went down to the basement to get some ice cream for his children and found two of the tiny bodies beneath frozen meat and vegetables while he was rummaging through the freezer.

Police sniffer dogs found the others in the concrete-filled pails, which were hidden beneath debris piled up inside a garden shed on the property.

Neighbors had described Arzberger, a bookkeeper, as a hard worker who kept a tidy house and a beautiful yard in front of her apartment.

Prosecutors said Arzberger told investigators she killed the infants out of despair over her inability to pay the bills, and out of fear that having children might drive away Genser, a carpenter and her partner of eight years.

Genser's lawyer, Kurt Klein, insisted in closing arguments Friday that the charges were "pure fiction." Prosecutors said DNA tests showed that Genser had fathered at least three of the four infants.


Austrian frozen babies examined

BBC News

June 6, 2005

Forensic experts in Austria are carrying out post-mortem examinations on two babies found at an apartment block in the southern city of Graz.

The two bodies were found wrapped in plastic and hidden in a freezer.

Two other babies, whose bodies were found entombed in buckets of concrete, were too badly decayed for the authorities to find out how they died.

Police have arrested a woman aged 32 - thought to be the mother - and her 38-year-old partner.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Werner Jud told the Austrian media that the possibility of more bodies being found at the site could not be ruled out.

"We are trying to determine the woman's past," he told Graz's Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

"Where did she live? Who were her acquaintances? Did anybody know about the pregnancies? These are the questions we're trying to answer."

The first body was found last week - reportedly when a tenant went to get an ice cream for his daughter. Later another body was found in the freezer.

'Bath birth'

The third and fourth were in plastic buckets filled with concrete in a garden shed at the residence, about 200 km (120 miles) south of Vienna.

The woman, a bookkeeper, is reported to have admitted killing the babies in despair after giving birth.

Police have been questioning her in an effort to find out what happened. She has told investigators that she gave birth to the children in a bath, but could not remember what happened next.

The suspicious deaths are believed to have taken place over a period of three years.

The woman's partner is said to have denied knowing about her pregnancies. DNA tests are being carried out to find out if he is the father.


Mom confesses to killing babies

June 3, 2005

Vienna - Police in southern Austria said on Friday they made a gruesome discovery - the bodies of four slain newborns stuffed into a freezer and entombed with cement in a paint bucket in an apartment building.

Investigators said the infants' 32-year-old mother confessed to killing them out of despair over her inability to pay the bills and fear that having a child might drive away her longtime male partner. Police found three bodies earlier this week and a fourth on Friday afternoon during a search of the premises.

Police said both were placed under formal investigation for murder.

The grisly killings, which authorities said may have begun as long as three years ago, stunned the tranquil alpine nation. unusual.

In despair

Police said at least two of the bodies were found in the freezer in Graz. Authorities arrested the suspect and her 38-year-old partner on Thursday, police said.

Austrian state broadcaster ORF said two bodies were wrapped in plastic bags and stuffed in the freezer, and a third - a newborn girl - was placed in a paint bucket that was filled with cement to conceal the remains.

Specially trained police sniffer dogs led investigators to the body in the bucket, ORF reported. Police were searching the house and an adjacent garden shed for clues to the killings on Friday when they came across the fourth body, officials said.

Graz's Kleine Zeitung newspaper reported on Friday that the first of the bodies was discovered on Monday by a resident of the multifamily apartment block when the man - who went down to the basement to get ice cream for his children - opened a chest freezer shared by the building's occupants.

Stunned, the tenant called police.

Evidence at the scene quickly pointed to the newborns' slayings before their bodies were stuffed in the freezer, police said in a statement.

The suspect, a bookkeeper whose name was not released in line with Austrian privacy laws, lived in the building with her partner for the past eight years, authorities said. Neighbours described the woman as "a real mensch" who worked hard to keep a tidy house and a beautiful yard.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Werner Jud told reporters on Friday the suspect was not entirely coherent during questioning, but told investigators she gave birth to all the babies in her bathtub.

APA cited investigators as saying the woman confessed during questioning, saying she was in despair over her ability to survive and worried that she would lose her companion if she had a child.

Her partner allegedly told police he was unaware of her pregnancies and insisted he played no role in either the slayings or the hiding of the bodies.

Jud said DNA tests would be carried out on the woman's companion to determine if he was the babies' father.


Did she kill more than 4 babies?

June 3, 2005

A shocking case of infinticide was discovered recently in Graz, a regional capital of Austria. When a neighbor of 32 year old Gertraud A. searched for some ice in a freezer in the basement of a two-family home in Graz, he found the frozen corpse of a new-born. When police sent the freezer for further examination to the Graz pathology institute, a second baby was found under the frozen food-stuff.

What at first glance appeared as a routine case of a desperate mother, turned out to be one of the most shocking cases of infanticide ever reported. When examining the house and surrounding, police found baby #3 and 4, one stuffed in a bucket filled with concrement, the other hidden behind a pile of rubbish in a dump near the house.Neighbors describe the 32-year old bookkeeper als "always friendly and helpful", nobody can imagine this grisly tragedy.

Gertraud A. and her partner Hannes G. are being questionned since being arrested last Thursday. She immediately admitted to having given birth to the babies, but denies any intention to kill them. She asserts, she never noticed to be pregnant and was surprised finding a "bloody lump" in her bathing tube, when she took a bath. She was so shocked, that she panicked and does not remember anything until she got rid of the "thing".

Her partner pretends, that he didnīt know about any pregnancy of Gertraud. The carpenter is married to another woman, fathering three children and lives with Gertraud since eight years.A special task-force is researching now for the former homes of the couple for more possible dead babies. The two live in the "horror-house" since three years only, having moved several times before.



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