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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Dissolves body in acid
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: December 6, 1988
Date of birth: 1954
Victim profile: Katharina Kornagel, 74 (his elderly employer)
Method of murder: Beating - Hydrochloric acid
Location: Ravensburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Status: Sentenced to life in prison in 1989

Bathtub killer dissolves body in acid - and pulls the plug!

He almost commited the perfect crime - till he started bragging

By Joe Berger - Weekly World News

June 27, 1989

Scheming chauffeur Erwin Spengler was so eager to get rid of his elderly employer that he beat her unconscious, dissolved her in acid - and washed her down the bathtub drain!

Evil Erwin, 33, soaked kindly grandma Katharina Kornagel in a tub of hydrochloric acid for two weeks before her corpse disintegrated enough so that he could pull the plug and let her seep away.

Cops never found a trace of the wealthy widow's body, but a mountain of circumstantial evidence helped them piece together details of the grisly crime.

"The acid ate everything - flesh, bones, hair anf teeth," prosecutor Gerhard Schurr told reporters in Ravensburg, West Germany.

The fiendish father of three was convicted of murder and sentenced to a term of life in prison.

"He was so proud of what he'd done that he couldn't resist telling others about it, and that was his downfall," Schurr said.

The bizarre history began last December when Katharina, 74, learned her shifty chauffeur had been pilfering money from her bank account.

"They got into a brawl over the money and Mr. Spengler beat the old woman with his fists and knocked her out cold," the prosecutor said.

"She was unconscious but still alive when he laid her in the tub and covered her with gallons of acid. Then he sat back and waited for her to dissolve so he could rinse her down the drain."

Money-grubbing Erwin told police the ill-fated lady disappeared after catching a train to visit a friend in the city of Bremen.

But investigators learned that Katharina's friend hadn't lived in Bremen for several years.

"If he'd just done his homework and resisted the urge to brag to his buddies about what he'd done, this might heve been the perfect crime," said prosecutor Schurr.



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