Who killed Patty Rebholz?

Who killed Petra Rothmayer?

“Petra and her fate simply must not be forgotten. Please take care of it, ”said Claudia Berger, one of her former best friends to the author, before she herself died of cancer on February 18, 2017 at the age of 47. Claudia had been friends with Petra Rothmayer since her youth. Claudia never forgot November 17th, 1996. On that day, Petra Rothmayer disappeared around 1.30 a.m. in the area of ​​her apartment at Gabesstrasse 57 in Linz-Auwiesen.

The restaurant where Petra was a guest shortly before her death

© Image: Gerhard Lukesch

Hours earlier there had been arguments between her and a 31-year-old, with whom Petra had had short relationships since 1985, in and in front of the restaurant “La Linea” at 24 Denkstrasse. They visited it together on the evening of November 16, 1996 and left for the apartment. This is a five-minute walk from the outflow basin of the Linz-Kleinmünchen an der Traun power plant. "Petra liked to stay there when she wanted to think and relax," said her mother Isabell.

The fire brigade reconstruct the fall into the water

© Image: Gerhard Lukesch

In the following days, private searches were unsuccessful. On December 9, 1996, her body was discovered in the Traun, only a few hundred meters from the confluence with the Danube in Ebelsberg. In addition to drowning, the autopsy also revealed numerous injuries: four cuts up to 18 centimeters long on the inside and outside of the upper arms - through the sweater - and four bruises on the head and neck. Facts that speak clearly against suicide or driving injuries. Initially, the autopsy at Linz forensic medicine assumed that someone was at fault, but then revised his opinion. The crime scene could never be found, the preliminary judicial investigation against the 31-year-old was discontinued in 1998 by the Linz judiciary. Mainly because four witnesses claim to have seen Petra still alive in Linz seven to eleven days after her disappearance.

Numerous objective facts established by the police and forensic medicine speak against the fact that Petra Rothmayer could have lived for so long. It is unbelievable that the stomach contents of the dead, with which the time of death could have been determined, had long been thrown away by forensic medicine in Salzburg. With that the chance to clarify the case was over.

The fact that some questions about death could not be resolved was due to investigative errors by the criminal investigation department and mishaps in the judiciary, as well as the fact that two important people in Petra's life died before her. The first victim was Martina Braun (22). Like Petra, she grew up on Dürerstraße in Linz and, together with Claudia Berger, was Petra's former best friend from 1980 to 1991. Martina Braun died on September 5, 1991 in a traffic accident in Friensdorf (Freistadt district).

The mother at her daughter's grave

© Image: Gerhard Lukesch

The second important witness would have been Harald S. From July 1988 to July 1992 he was Petra Rothmayer's partner. And yet Petra left him for three months in February 1989 to be with the man who was suspected in 1996 of having something to do with her violent death. Exactly these three months would have been interesting for the investigators. But Harald S. died at the age of 24 on October 21, 1992 in a hotel room in Amsterdam.

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