Fresh Details Emerge in Harald Kopitz Children Deaths

By 26 September 2021
Fresh Details Emerge in Harald Kopitz Children Deaths

September 26, 2021 - New details have emerged in the Harald Kopitz children deaths on September 25 in the Zagreb neighborhood of Mlinovi. 

Harald Kopitz, a 56-year-old Austrian from Vienna who lives and works in Zagreb, killed his three children at 2 am on Saturday, September 25. He is said to have strangled his 7-year-old twins and 4-year old son. He also posted a haunting message on Facebook before the crime and tried to kill himself. But many questions have been left unanswered. 

Police found the lifeless bodies of three children, two seven-year-old twins, and a four-year-old boy, and their stunned father, who tried to kill himself, in an apartment in Zagreb's Mlinovi neighborhood. He was transported to KBC Sisters of Charity, where he is now being treated. He is guarded by the police at all times.

Harald Kopitz was a businessman that worked for several large companies as a financial consultant and negotiator.

The parents of the murdered children were divorced, the mother was not in Zagreb at the time of the crime, and the children were spending the weekend with their father. The police say that there were no reports of domestic violence in that family before. However, the Zagreb County State's Attorney's Office, which investigated the Mlinovi neighborhood, reported that their 56-year-old father, an Austrian citizen, was suspected of killing the three minor children.

The Prosecutor's Office stated that, in cooperation with the police, it took further measures and actions within its competence to determine all the circumstances of these criminal offenses.

But while the police and the Prosecutor's Office are trying to unravel all the circumstances of the horrific crime, information is leaking to the public about the murder and the killer, reports

According to the latest information obtained by Index from sources close to the investigation, investigators, who first believed that Kopitz strangled his children, are increasingly inclined to think that the key to death was poisoning, probably pills.

However, suffocation injuries were found on the bodies of the three children, so investigators suspect that the father poisoned and suffocated the children, Index has learned.

But what exactly caused the deaths of the children will be determined by the expected autopsy results, as well as by toxicological expertise.

It is also possible that some of the children died of poisoning and some by suffocation.

The cause of death of the three children is one of the critical questions to which there is no answer yet. In addition, in the coming days, investigators will search for answers to questions that prompted the perpetrator to commit such a crime, whether he planned everything, but also whether he was under the influence of any means that would affect his judgment.

The children were with their father for the weekend as the ex-wife left them on Friday to go on a business trip to Dubrovnik. Around midnight, it is suspected that Kopitz got the children ready for sleep and gave them a cocktail of various pills and medicines before. According to Večernji List, the children, or one of them, started to wake up, and Kopitz then began to choke them.

However, it is not yet known what exactly the children died of and whether it was suffocation or poisoning, as investigators increasingly believe.

When he was convinced that none of the three children were breathing anymore, one by one, he took them in his arms and carried them to the couch in the living room. He laid them next to each other and placed their favorite toys around them.

A gruesome scene greeted police officers who came out to report a possible suicide. Namely, shortly after midnight, the 56-year-old Austrian posted a farewell status on Facebook and Instagram.


169ca431ac8676a339b7.pngOne of his acquaintances noticed this status and informed the police, who immediately went to the apartment. But it was too late. The status has since been removed from Facebook but remains on Instagram and Linkedin. 

The officers were shocked by the horrific scene, and to experienced investigators, this was one of the scariest scenes they had ever witnessed. Children's clothes were hanging on the window of the apartment where the horror took place that morning.

The officers at the scene will require psychological help.

"I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere condolences to my mother and extended family members as a police officer, but also on my behalf, a mother and parent. Given that this is a very traumatic event, the police officers will be provided with professional assistance," said Nikolina Grubišić Požar from the Zagreb Juvenile Delinquency Department in a statement in front of the Zagreb police headquarters.

Grubišić Požar added that upon arriving at the scene in Mlinovi, a man was found in poor health and three minor children who showed no signs of life.

"The arrival of the emergency medical doctor confirmed the death of the children and that it was a violent death. The citizen was provided with medical assistance and placed at Sisters of Charity Hospital, where he is hospitalized," Grubišić Požar added, concluding that a criminal investigation was underway.

The Zagreb police had no information, nor had they ever intervened in a family in the Zagreb neighborhood of Mlinovi.

The director of the Sisters of Charity Hospital, Davor Vagić, said that 56-year-old Harald Kopitz is stable for now.

"Tonight, a 56-year-old man with a narrowed consciousness was brought by ambulance accompanied by the police. The patient was treated in our unified Emergency Hospital, after which he was transferred to our intensive care unit, where further diagnostics and treatment were made," said Vagić in an extraordinary address to the press in front of the Vinogradska Hospital.

According to him, the patient is stable and with no life-threatening conditions.

"The man is conscious. Absolutely all possible findings are being made under the suspicion that he was under the influence of psychopharmaceuticals, but we cannot say that definitively," Dr. Vagić emphasized.

Psychopharmaceuticals are generally considered drugs that affect mental processes, so they are used to treat mental illness and disorders. They include several groups of drugs such as psycholeptics (antipsychotics, anxiolytics, hypnotics, and sedatives), psychoanaleptics (antidepressants, psychostimulants, nootropics, and anti-dementia drugs), and other drugs that act on the central nervous system. However, in a broader sense, psychopharmaceuticals are considered chemical substances that, in a specific dose, have a special effect on mental life and cognitive behavior.

Psychiatrist Herman Vukušić said that mentioning psychopharmaceuticals, in this case, could be harmful because it could lead to patients shying away from them and that it is almost impossible for these drugs to be the cause of such a crime.

State Secretary at the Ministry of Family and Social Policy Margareta Mađerić said that the competent Center for Social Welfare had no information about domestic violence.

"The Center for Social Welfare did not have any reports, of individuals, mothers, but also of any other bodies, which would indicate domestic violence against children or mothers," Mađerić said at a press conference.

She pointed out that this family was in a mandatory consultation at the competent Center for Social Welfare in 2018, adding that this is the standard procedure for all divorced couples.

She said that the father and mother of the children then came to the Center together and agreed to have joint custody of their three children.

"After that, there was no action by the Social Welfare Center. The center could not act because they did not have information that there was violence," said Mađerić.

At the same time, she called on the citizens to immediately report any suspicion of violence in their environment to the competent institutions.

While investigators are trying to unravel all the circumstances of the horrific crime, the mother, devastated by what happened, went to Neum, where she was born.

According to unofficial information, Bosnia and Herzegovina's Dnevni Avaz writes that the children will be buried in Neum.

Dragan Jurković, the mayor of Neum, explained the connection between the mother and Neum. He also said the children were there this summer.

"She finished primary school in Neum, her parents live in Neum, and the children stayed in Neum over the summer," Jurković told Avaz.

He announced a day of mourning if the funeral is in Neum.

"If the funeral of the children is in Neum, we will declare a day of mourning on that day. I am very sorry. I express my sincere condolences," concluded Jurković.

TCN will be updating this story as things develop. 

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