German authorities have identified the remains of a man found in the town of Hattingen in October as Reşat Özdemir, 28, a German citizen of Turkish origin.
The remains of Özdemir, who has been missing since April 5, 2012, were found by trekkers in a forest, along with a file containing documents believed to belong to the man, a father of two living in the German town of Velbert. Özdemir, who worked as a private lender, was last seen as he left for Gelsenkirchen to visit an electronics store that was owned by an acquaintance.
His family had put up an award of 10,000 euros for information regarding his whereabouts. Police believe Özdemir, whose cellphone was last used in the city of Bochum, was killed elsewhere and his body was buried in Hattingen. Local media outlets reported that Özdemir had a large circle of friends and acquaintances due to his work as a lender, especially for the Turkish community. It is not known whether Özdemir's killing was a result of a dispute regarding his business.
Germany, which hosts a sizable Turkish community numbering near 3.5 million, has seen a string of murders targeting Turks in the past. The National Socialist Underground (NSU), a neo-Nazi gang, was accused of killing eight Turks between 2000 and 2007. Two members of the gang died in an apparent suicide in 2011 while a third member has been in jail since 2011. Still, the German far-right remains a threat in the country with constant, although non-lethal, attacks targeting Turkish mosques and cultural centers.
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