Friday, March 10, 2000
Former local resident killed in Germany



A former Peachtree City resident was one of the victims in a murder last week in Germany that made headlines around the world.

According to Reuters news service, German police detained four American teenagers suspected of killing two motorists by throwing large stones onto a motor way from a pedestrian overpass in a Feb. 27 incident.

Two women aged 20 and 41 driving separate cars were killed after the soccer ball-sized stones smashed into their windows and sent the cars spinning out of control, prosecutors said. The younger woman's 75-year-old grandmother was seriously injured.

Three other people suffered minor injuries and six cars were damaged because of the stone throwing.

The 41-year-old woman in the story is Karin Rothermel, according to Peachtree City resident Terry Enzor, a close friend of the family. She lived in Peachtree City for two years with her husband, Detlef, and two children — Catarina, 16, and Sebastian, 13 — before returning to Germany this past fall.

Detlef Rothermel was stationed here under a special two-year program operated by his employer, Siemens Business Services, Enzor said. He and his family were German citizens, but they loved this area.

“They bought a house, bought American cars, sent their children to Rising Starr schools... you know, they blended in,” said Enzor. “They loved it here! They wanted to stay, but Detlef's assignment ended and they had to return to Germany.”

Peachtree City public information specialist Betsy Tyler informed local media Monday of the local connection to the story, and Mayor Bob Lenox sent a message of condolence to the family on behalf of the City Council.

General Montgomery Meigs, commanding general of the U.S. Army, Europe, and Seventh Army in a March 3 message sent his heartfelt condolences to the Rothermel family on behalf of all the men and women of the United States Army in Europe, Enzor said.

Enzor and his wife, Cindy, traveled to Germany last Friday to be with the Rothermels, returning Sunday.

Three of the suspects, aged 14 - 18, face murder charges with prison sentences of up to 10 years if found guilty, according to the Reuters story. A fourth boy, 15, faces lesser charges.

Three of the suspects have admitted taking part, according to the prosecutor's office in Darmstadt, which is about 30 miles south of Frankfurt.

The pedestrian bridge over the motor way where the crime took place is near a U.S. military community settlement called Lincoln Village where about 600 U.S. families live.

“I am shocked and saddened by the tragic accident that occurred Sunday in Darmstadt,” Defense Secretary William Cohen said in a statement. “German and American officials are and will continue to work closely together as the investigation unfolds.”

Prosecutors have requested that the four be placed under investigative custody, although the 15-year-old boy likely is to be released because he was not as extensively involved in the crime, Nauber said.

A judge in Darmstadt where the crime took place will decide on that request Tuesday. The four were detained Monday evening after eyewitnesses gave police accounts of the crime.

Terry Enzor, who worked with Detlef Rothermel and shared a 46-mile commute every day during the Rothermels' stay in Peachtree City, notified former colleagues at Siemens locally as well as the city after Karin's death took place.

“Detlef is a fine man and has a tremendous family,” he said. “Please join me in uplifting Detlef, and Detlef and Karen's children, in our prayers.”

The Rothermel family can be reached by e-mail at or by regular mail at Numrichstrasse 2D-64319, Pfungstadt, Eschollbrucken, Germany.

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