A suspected paedophile who killed himself after allegedly kidnapping a five-year-old girl is ‘innocent’, claims his widow. Vreni Von Aesch, whose husband Urs Hans is thought to be behind the disappearance of Ylenia Lenhard in Switzerland, has finally spoken out. She says ‘lots of lies’ have been published in the media and that her husband is ‘not a paedophile’. Her husband was polite, friendly, sociable and big-hearted, Vreni reveals.
However, she has hinted that he may have been suicidal. Vreni explains her husband had ‘changed considerably’ in the last three or four years and often said he did not want to live, particularly when he was ill or in pain. Urs Hans was ‘afraid of getting old’, often ill and suffered persistent headaches.
His wife heard the news of his death via her sister in Switzerland, who telephoned to say Urs had said goodbye to her. At the same time Vreni received a text message from Urs on their landline, but in German which, when read out by the automated voice service in Spanish, made no sense, she continues.
Resident in Benimantell, near Guadalest, for more than seven years, Vreni explains her husband had returned to Switzerland for the summer because he found the Spanish heat, crowds of tourists and traffic jams unbearable. Vreni reveals that her husband was staying with her mother and sister at their house in Zétzwil.
She travelled to Switzerland on August 5, four days after her husband’s death and was horrified to see that the news on Swiss televisión had linked his demise with the disappearance of little Ylenia.
The grieving widow also reveals that her husband was carrying a gun because he often went rabbit-hunting.
According to Vreni, her husband did not know the missing child and “nobody who knows my husband believes he did it. “All the villagers are very kind, they are all worried, including the mayor.”
Concerning recent theories that Urs Hans may have been involved in the disappearance of British three-year-old, Madeleine McCann, Vreni categorically denies that her husband was in Praia da Luz, southern Portugal, on the day of the child’s disappearance from the family’s holiday apartment.
Dead expat suspected of five-year-old’s kidnap
By: Samantha Kett, thinkSPAINtoday
Saturday, August 11, 2007
An expatriate thought to be behind the kidnapping of a five-year-old girl has been found shot dead. The chief suspect in Ylenia Lenhard’s disappearance on July 31, a 67-year-old Swiss national living in the province of Alicante, was discovered with a bullet through his head the following day in the canton of Saint Gallen.
Officers believe his demise was the result of a shoot-out with a 46-year-old man. However, they have not ruled out suicide. Near the woodland where the suspect was shot, officers found various items belonging to the missing child, also Swiss, including a bicycle helmet, a rucksack and a scooter. On Tuesday, Urs Hans Von Aesch’s DNA was found on all three items.
Police say everything points to the fact that the girl was kidnapped and possibly murdered.
More than 50 Swiss officers are combing the area.
In the meantime, Guardia Civil officers are searching the property owned by Von Aesch in Benimantell near Guadalest and are said to be questioning his wife.
Ylenia Lenhard, five, disappeared last Tuesday in Appenzell when she returned to a swimming pool to collect a bottle of shampoo she had left there. She has not been seen since.
Investigations began after shots rang out in the woods.
The 46-year-old received a bullet in the chest before fleeing his aggressor, and is currently in intensive care. Police believe he may have been one of the last to see the missing girl, but his health is too poor to allow him to be questioned.
Officers found a Renault van with a Spanish registration number belonging to Von Aesch but searches did not reveal any clues inside. Witnesses say the vehicle was parked near the woods shortly before Ylenia went missing, leading police to believe the kidnapping was premeditated.Guardia Civil sources say the suspect had been living in Benimantell for just a few weeks before his death.
Police are investigating whether Ylenia’s kidnapper could have been involved in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann three months ago. As published in The Times on Tuesday, Portuguese police have detected similarities between the two cases.
They suspect Urs Hans Von Aesch was in Praia da Luz on or around May 3, when three-year-old Madeleine vanished sparking a Europe-wide search for clues leading to her whereabouts. Von Aesch drove a van similar to that which various witnesses claim to have seen near the apartment on the Club Ocean resort where the McCann family were staying.
Yet this appears to contradict claims that the Portuguese police have known for more than a month that Madeleine died in the bedroom on the night of her disappearance. Traces of her blood in the room have aroused suspicions that she suffered a fatal accident or was murdered.