She wanted to buy some sweets as a reward for her great half-year report. Shortly thereafter, ten-year-old Hilal Ercan disappeared in broad daylight in the middle of Hamburg. And has remained so to this day. ARD Crime Time is now dedicated to this case.
It’s been more than 23 years, and yet just mentioning Hilal’s name is enough and the tragedy of her fall is as painful and unbelievable as in those days after January 27, 1999. On paper, any other day is enough for Hilal a very special one in the Lurup district of Hamburg. Her half-year report was excellent, so her father gave her permission to buy some sweets in the nearby Elbgaupassage shopping center. From there she never returned.
Soko Morgenland investigated for weeks, and the focus was always on the Ercan family. There was often talk of a possible family tragedy, while at the same time numerous leads relating to a sandy-haired man were less carefully investigated. At some point the investigations came to a halt, and the Hilal case became a so-called cold case.
A dramatic cold case
Hilal’s disappearance made headlines again last July. The State Criminal Police Office and the Hamburg public prosecutor’s office had evaluated old files and found a possible lead. According to a police spokesman, the focus of interest was the case of a multiple-convicted sex offender. In the course of the investigation, an area of almost three hectares in Norderstedt was combed, and the work lasted almost four weeks. In the end, no usable traces could be found. Some metallic objects, that’s it.
“ARD Crime Time” in three parts
In 2018 there was hope again when a special unit of the Hamburg LKA reopened the case. Investigations came to a standstill again when unit head Steven Baack became involved in a scandal. The Ercan family had long since lost confidence in the police and had started investigating on their own with friends and supporters.
As part of the 10th season of “ARD Crime Time”, a television crew followed Hilal’s brother and his supporters for a year and a half. New clues, dramatic insights, witnesses who speak out for the first time – all this is shown in the three-part documentary about this case, which is as mysterious as it is tricky even 23 years later, and shows that this question must finally be answered: Where is Hilal?
The Hilal case
3 episodes of 30 minutes each
From September 23 in the ARD media library
From October 22nd on NDR
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