September 15, 1990 the nude body of Blanka Bockova was found along the bank of the Vitava River in Czechoslovakia. She was lying on her back with a pair of gray stockings knotted around her neck. Blanka was not a prostitute per se but she was known to turn a trick here and there. No biological fluids were found on her or at the scene.
Five weeks later in Graz Austria a prostitute named Brunhilde Masser vanished.
December 31, 1990 in Bregenz Austria hikers found the body of another prostitute, Heidemarie Hammerer. She had been strangled with her own pantyhose and a strip of skin had been cut from her leg and stuffed in her mouth to use as a gag. Potential evidence found on her body consisted of several red fibers left on her clothing.
January 5, 1991 hikers stumbled upon the body of Masser in a forest north of Graz. She had been stabbed and strangled with her pantyhose.
March 7, 1991 in Graz Austria prostitute Elfriede Schrempf vanished. Her nude body was found on October 5 1991.
Less than a month later in Vienna Austria, Silvia Zagler, Sabine Moitzi, Regina Prem, and Karin Eroglu also vanished.
On May 20, 1991, the body of Sabine Moitizi's body was discovered, and three days later the remains of Karin Ergolus was found. Both had been strangled with articles of their own clothing. In addition Ergolu had a body stocking shoved down her throat.
In the mind of the press there was a serial killer at large and they dubbed him the "Vienna courier". The police investigators were however resistant to the idea.
A former investigator who had been following the news reports contacted the authorities to share with them his thoughts that the style of murders were eerily similar to two he had investigated in 1974.
In 1974 two prostitutes Margaret Schaefer and Marcia Horveth had been murdered. Schaefer had been hit in the head with a steel pipe and strangled with her bra. Horveth had been strangled with her stockings and a necktie. Her mouth was taped and her body was thrown into Lake Salzachsee near Salzburg. The investigators were soon led to Johann "Jack" Unterweger who broke down and confessed to the murder of Schaefer. He refused to take responsiblilty for the murder of Horveth.
While in prison he was examined by Dr. Klaus Jarosch, a forensic psychologist, who noted;
"He is a sexually sadistic psychopath with narcissistic and histrionic tendencies."


Jack Unterweger was born August 16, 1952 to an Austrian prostitute. His father was rumored to be an American soldier. Jack was abandoned by his mother and left in the care of his abusive, alcholic grandfather. When his grandfather was deemed unfit he was bounced around from foster home to foster home. Starting at age 16 he was in and out of prison for petty crimes and assaulting local prostitutes. He was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Margaret Schaefer. While in prison he taught himself to read and write. He began writing poems and short stories. In 1984 his autobiography was released and became a bestseller. He took full responsiblity for his crimes in his book and portrayed himself as the victim because of his upbringing. His plight gained the attention of Austrian intellectuals and prison reformists. Believing him to be reformed they circulated petitions on his behalf demanding his pardon from prison. On May 23, 1990 Jack Unterweger was paroled.
Unterweger was a celebrity overnight. His book was made into a motion picture, he was a frequent guest on talk shows and he was eventually hired as a free lance crime writer.

The investigators needed to tread lightly in their attempt to build a case against Unterweger and they had to make sure that their evidence against him was solid. They used his credit car receipts to place him in the cities at the times of all of the disappearances and murders of the prostitutes. Unterweger had purchased a BMW at the time of his release from prison. The authorities tracked the car down to it's new owner and when they searched the car they found a small hair fragment which subjected to DNA analysis and found to be that of the first victim, Blanka Bockova. The red fibers found on Heidemarie Hammerer were a match to a red scarf found in Unterweger's apartment.
Unterweger went to Los Angeles to write a magazine article about prostitution. While he was there three prostitutes, Irene Rodriguez, Shannon Exley, and Sherri Long were found beaten, sexually assaulted with tree branches, and strangled with their own bras. He remained in America for five weeks during which time the murders in Austria had stopped!
In a misguided effort to help him Jack's friend's tipped him off that he was considered a suspect. Jack and his girlfriend Bianca Mrak fled from Switzerland where he was now living to America. He enlisted the aid of his supporters and the Austrian papers claiming that he had been framed by the authorities. He was eventually arrested in Miami, Florida on February 27, 1992 and extradited back to Austria to stand trial.

His trial commenced in June of 1994 and lasted two and a half months. He was tried for the three murders in Los Angeles, the one in Prague, and the seven in Austria.
As the overwhelming albeit circumstantial evidence against him was presented in court his supporters, finally realizing that they had been fooled by his literary genius, began to desert him like rats deserting a sinking ship.
Jack Unterweger, who bragged that he would never spend another day in prison, was found guilty of nine of the eleven murders and was sentenced to life in prison.
Later that night Jack Unterweger committed suicide by hanging himself with a string from his prison jumpsuit. The string contained the same knot that was used on the murdered prostitutes!



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