German nurse Niels Högel, who previously confessed to killing dozens of patients out of boredom and for thrill, is believed to have killed more than 100 people, prosecutors said on Thursday. It would make him one of the worst serial killers in modern history.
Högel (also spelled Hoegel), who is now 40, worked at clinics in northwest Germany between 1999 and 2005. He is currently serving life in prison for the murder of six patients, but a three-year-long investigation has uncovered dozens of suspicious deaths.
Prosecutors in the German state of Lower Saxony announced in late August that Högel is believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least 90 patients, but 41 deaths were still under investigation at that time. Investigators have now attributed 16 additional deaths to the former nurse, raising the total to 106.
Prosecutors are preparing to file an indictment against Högel in early 2018.
The nurse, who worked at clinics in Delmenhorst and Oldenburg, was first arrested in 2005 when a colleague caught him injecting a patient with medicine. The patient survived the ordeal. Högel was sentenced in 2008 to 7.5 years in prison on one count of attempted murder.
A woman whose mother had suddenly died while being treated at a clinic became suspicious after hearing about the case in the media and decided to go to the police. The investigation uncovered suspicious deaths, and Högel was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2015. He has so far been convicted of killing six patients.
During the trial in 2015, a psychiatric expert told the court that Högel had confessed to injecting 90 patients with heart medication, including 60 people who he managed to revive and 30 people who died. He admitted to acting out of boredom and would try to save his victims to show off his resuscitation skills.
Högel acknowledged in recent police interviews that he was responsible for some of the deaths which are now being attributed to him, but in most cases he was unable to remember specific details. Högel did not exclude the possibility that he had killed the patients, prosecutors said.
106 deaths would make Högel the country’s worst serial killer in modern history and one of the worst serial killers in the world. The number of victims could still rise because additional examinations are necessary for five bodies. Several cases in which people were buried in Turkey are also still under investigation.