Crossing the Line
About five weeks later, in
Having been in this profession for a decade, Hammerer was considered streetwise about dangerous johns. Nevertheless, no one had heard from her, and nearly a month went by before she turned up. On New Year's Eve, hikers in the woods outside Bregenz came across Hammerers fully clothed body. She was on her back and her stomach was covered with dead leaves. They alerted authorities.
Upon closer inspection, it appeared the victim had been killed and then redressed, after which she had been dragged through the woods. She still wore her jewelry, so robbery did not seem to be a motive. Her legs were bare and a piece had been cut from her slip with a sharp instrument, like a knife. The missing piece was found in her mouth, used as a gag.
Cold weather had helped to preserve the remains, so the pathologist determined that Hammerer had been strangled with a pair of pantyhose, presumably hers. In addition, there were bruises on her wrists, which bore the mark of some kind of restraint, such as handcuffs or tight ligatures. She had bruises on other areas of her body as well, as if she had been beaten. No sexual discharge was present on or around the body, although it could have been washed away in the elements. The cause of death was listed as asphyxiation caused by suffocation and strangulation
The one potential piece of evidence was the presence of several red fibers on her clothing that were inconsistent with anything that she wore, and these were carefully collected for lab analysis. The Regional Office of the Austrian Federal Police began an immediate investigation.
Five days after Hammerers body was discovered in Bregenz, hikers stumbled across a set of badly decomposed remains in an isolated forest north of
The Austrian Federal Police assigned to the Styrian region took over this investigation, but they found no one who knew about Hammerers or Massers last customers. Someone had seen a man in a leather jacket with her but did not know him. Very quickly, investigators were at a dead end. No one had seen anything suspicious.
The Austrian police did not know about the murder of Bockova in