German couple kidnapped children to Paraguay – now there is new hope

Updated on 06/07/2022 at 12:05

  • Anne Maja Reiniger-Egler has not seen her ten-year-old daughter Clara Magdalena for six months.
  • Because he wants to prevent a corona vaccination, her ex-husband fled to South America with the child and his new wife and went into hiding there.
  • Now the kidnappers have arrived.

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Anne Maja Reiniger-Egler’s search for her ten-year-old daughter Clara Magdalena may soon be over. Her ex-husband fled to South America with the girl, his new wife and her daughter from his first marriage. Somewhere in Paraguay they have been hiding for several months.

Now the turning point is: After the start of a nationwide manhunt for child abduction, the German couple who had fled contacted Reiniger-Egler’s lawyers and the other girl’s father. “There have been several phone calls over the last few days,” lawyers said Monday. “We are looking for a solution to end child abduction.”

Parents wanted to prevent vaccination

The father of one girl and the other girl’s mother had already emigrated to Paraguay with their two children last November without the consent of their respective former partners. Apparently, they would prevent the children from being vaccinated against the corona virus. According to the Paraguayan prosecution, an arrest warrant has been issued against the couple by the international police agency Interpol.

Police recently spotted an abandoned rental car in the town of Bella Vista near the Argentine border and questioned the car rental company. Now the “fruitful conversations,” as the lawyers’ letter says. Reiniger-Egler was able to talk to his children on the phone. “We are looking for a solution that protects the rights of all parties and, above all, takes into account the interests of children,” the lawyers wrote in the statement.


Anne Maja Reiniger-Egler with a photo of her daughter.

© Jorge Saenz / AP / dpa

Dorado for lateral thinkers

The South American country is a popular destination for citizens, corona deniers, right-wing conspiracy ideologues and opponents of government measures to curb the pandemic. According to the Paraguayan migration authorities, 3,440 Germans settled in Paraguay alone last year. The German embassy in Asunción estimates that there are about 26,000 Germans living in Paraguay.

Paraguay is attractive as an immigration country because foreigners, especially from Europe, can easily get a residence permit and can also buy land or real estate. Paraguay became interesting to opponents of vaccination during the corona pandemic because one could initially enter the country without proof of vaccination.

Couple left mother’s suicide note

According to the seeking mother, the German couple, who had gone into hiding, had left a farewell letter as they left. In it, they write that there is no future for the girls in Germany, that they do not want to get them vaccinated against the corona virus. A few days ago, the refugees also posted a video message. “We are now being searched all over the world, just like criminals, like murderers, like criminals,” the man said in it. The woman adds: “We just wanted to protect our children. We just want our children to be well and now you want to separate us.”

Police believe the family went into hiding in one of the numerous German colonies in Paraguay, where they should be able to count on the support of like-minded people. “There are very isolated German communities here, which makes the investigation so difficult,” said the deputy head of the Paraguayan police kidnapping unit, Mario Vallejos.

The Germans are not integrated into Paraguay

Numerous German emigrants are said to have turned their backs on the country. Language problems, low earning potential, the extreme climate and mentality differences are driving emigrants back, according to relevant internet forums. “The question is whether people want to integrate. Most of them do not really learn Spanish, so that’s where things get stuck,” says emigration worker Eveline Huber. “Those who do not integrate will quickly go back.”

The immigration of declared opponents of vaccination is still not met with the approval of everyone in Paraguay. “Most of those who come are not vaccinated,” Hohenau Mayor Enrique Hahn said in a recent interview. “You must know that there are laws here too.” Meanwhile, those who entered the country had to prove that they were fully vaccinated against the corona virus. According to Hahn, however, opponents of vaccination partially circumvented the rules by coming from Bolivia across the green border into Paraguay. (dpa / mf)


German Andreas Rainer Egler is apparently hiding in Paraguay with his new wife and two girls from Germany because he thinks he is fleeing a “vaccination dictatorship” in Germany. At a press conference in Asuncion, the mother of one of the girls appealed to the father to get in touch with her. The police search for the two children is so far without success.

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