Men arrested over 1988 murder of teenage German backpacker in Northern Ireland

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Northern Irish police have questioned two men over the murder of a German teenage backpacker more than 30 years ago.

The suspects, aged 61 and 58, were arrested in the Loughguile area of County Antrim in connection with the death of 18-year-old Inga Maria Hauser.

The Munich teenager’s body was found dumped in a remote part of Ballypatrick Forest, near Ballycastle, two weeks after she was last seen alive on a ferry from Scotland in April 1988.

Her death is one of Northern Ireland‘s most high-profile unsolved murders.

The arrests on Monday came weeks after a much-publicised series of appeals to mark the 30th anniversary of the murder.

Both men have since been released on bail pending further police investigation.

In April, detectives said they believed a number of people may have been involved, either directly in the murder or in a subsequent cover-up. They suggested they only need fractional pieces of evidence to bring the chief suspects to justice.

Police already have a complete male genetic profile taken from the murder scene, but have not yet found a match.

One of the largest DNA screenings ever undertaken in the UK, involving 2,000 samples, was carried out a number of years ago but failed to produce a definitive match.

Hauser had travelled through England and Scotland before her death. According to diary entries, she intended to travel south to Dublin after arriving by ferry at Larne, County Antrim.

However, for reasons as yet unexplained, she ended up going in the opposite direction and was found dead in remote woodland two weeks later.

It is understood the IRA carried out its own investigation into the killing 30 years ago.

Republican paramilitaries are believed to have considered passing information about the alleged murderer to the Royal Ulster Constabulary at the height of the Troubles, but did not follow through.

“If there are any witnesses still out there with any further information which might help police then I would ask them to come forward now and speak to detectives,” said Raymond Murray, chief superintendent of Police Service of Northern Ireland.

He added: ”Even if there are people who know what happened but have stayed silent out of friendship or family loyalty, it is still not too late to come forward and tell us what you know.

“Failure to do so can be a criminal offence in itself and surely it would be better to come to police and discuss what happened rather than take the risk we will come to you.”