In the case of a three-year-old who disappeared for more than twelve hours in Cologne, a man who was temporarily arrested was released on Sunday. The 70-year-old, in whose apartment the girl was found on Saturday morning, has been released from custody, the police and public prosecutor’s office said. The man was arrested and questioned.

Even after a medical examination of the child, there was no concrete evidence of a physical attack. The investigation against the accused is “currently based solely on the suspicion of child abduction,” it said in a statement on Sunday. There are no grounds for detention. Investigators had already stated on Saturday that the girl was “apparently uninjured” when police discovered her in the 70-year-old’s apartment as part of a major search operation.

According to information from “Bild”, the man may have confused the girl with his granddaughter. A son of the 70-year-old said that he had been out and about in the Bürgerpark with his father and his own four children. At around 7:30 p.m. he brought his father, who is said to be suffering from severe visual impairment, home. Later, the three-year-old is said to have knocked on his front door while crying, as the 70-year-old is said to have told the police. He is said to have thought she was his granddaughter and let her in. The granddaughter, like the missing girl, is three years old and also has dark curly hair.

“She is as happy as before,” said the girl’s mother to “Bild”. She “didn’t say a word to me about what happened. (…) Maybe she really doesn’t remember anything, or her brain is repressing that night.” The three-year-old was “very quiet” when the police took her home. “But now she has slept well and is full of energy again.” The girl’s grandfather is also happy that his granddaughter is back safely, but also blames himself: “It’s hard for me to forgive myself for something like that Bad things happened when she came to visit us.”

The three-year-old from Kassel, who was visiting relatives in Cologne with her parents, disappeared on Friday evening in a nearby park in the Kalk district. Investigators reported that she was traveling with her aunt when she lost sight of her niece on her pink balance bike. The park in the Kalk district was “very well filled” at the time.

The police then launched a large search for the three-year-old. Sniffer dogs and a helicopter were used. As part of the search operation, residents were also rung to question them and get information. The child was finally found in the 70-year-old’s apartment in an apartment building not far from the park on Saturday morning – more than twelve hours after his disappearance. The man did not resist his arrest, a spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office said on Sunday.

Police spokesman Stefan Wallmeroth told “Bild”: “The subject of the investigation is currently how the girl got into the apartment and how long she stayed there. It is checked whether criminal offenses have occurred. People are currently being interviewed about this.”

The police are now interviewing witnesses and examining the apartment, which is near the park. “The investigation must show whether crimes have occurred to the detriment of the girl.” The child is looked after by relatives and questioned by emergency services in the presence of the parents.

How the girl got into the apartment and how long she stayed there remains unclear. The man was questioned, said the dpa spokesman, without giving further details. The 70-year-old’s apartment was also examined for forensic purposes. According to our findings, there is no family relationship. The three-year-old should also be interviewed in the presence of her parents. The investigation was ongoing.

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The original for this article “Suspect claims to have confused missing girl with his own granddaughter” comes from