Attorney Dominik Mies had to wait for this moment for two years. Only one and a half of them had the Hanau district court examined his indictment before it was admitted. Now Mies rises in room A 215 and accuses Sylvia D., low motives and cruel to have killed a human: The 72-year-old is said to have tied the then four-year-old Jan in a burlap bag at noon on 17 August 1988 to kill him.
The woman, as the leader of a sect, is said to have regarded the boy as "possessed of the dark," as a "reincarnation of Hitler," and left him alone in a panic screaming for his life until he died. At an outside temperature of 32 degrees Celsius, she should have previously closed the window and the door of the bathroom, on the floor of which the child lay. "Jan, now you can leave your shouting, I'm going to the garden now, nobody is listening to you here," she is supposed to have shouted to him. Jan died after a bitter death struggle, says prosecutor Mies.
The defendant is unmoved by his words. Sylvia D. will not provide any information, says one of her two defenders. The other explains that she denies the allegations; There is no evidence of killing or a clear cause of death. A death struggle of the child is pure speculation of the indictment.
And so begins on this October day, a circumstantial process, which is not only to inform the death of little Jan H., but also the mysterious circumstances under which he grew up. Did the trained pediatric nurse Sylvia D. live with her husband Walter, once a pastor and now deceased, as in a sect? Was she chasing around 30 people - including academics, foster and adoptive children - whom she brainwashed and bullyed?
Mother of the boy sees the defendant as a very good friend
The death rested for more than 25 years, because in the investigation report of 1988, the death of the boy was recorded as an accident: According to Jan was smothered in sleep on vomited oatmeal, a third party debt was excluded. Public made the case the "Frankfurter Rundschau" in the fall of 2014. According to their research, there are dropouts who speak of physical assault and psychological violence that were common within the group. They will appear as witnesses in this process.
Jan's parents do not act as co-plaintiffs. On the contrary, the boy's mother turns out to be the perfect defense witness on this first day of negotiations. The academic, 58 years old, describes Sylvia D. as a "very good friend", even more than that: "She is like a sister to me." You still do not see yourself daily, but very often; you live in the closest neighborhood.
The house where Jan's parents live today was built the year the boy died. The family H. was therefore confiscated at the time of construction with family D. Sylvia D. was like a second mother to the boy, the mother says in court. And the more she speaks, the more she feels that she, too, believes that Sylvia D. receives messages from God, which she performs or delegates.
"She has been looking for God all her life and has been able to gain much wisdom and help many people," says the mother. Sylvia D. also wrote books about her divine experiences and her dreams.
Every human being has to deal with the fact that there are two sides of God: one good and one bad. In this "field of tension" every man has to find his way, says Jan's mother. A skill that nobody seems to master as Sylvia D. Or, as the mother calls it, "Ms. D. has a very good sense for people."
"Loved all children"
Sylvia D. is not to blame for the death of her son. No one was "brutally treated" in the House of the Ds, emphasizes the mother. "I know that Mrs. D. loved all children." She admired Sylvia D. for her dealings with her two biological sons and another seven children she had nursed or adopted.
Sylvia D. pulled her aside when she returned home from shopping with Walter D. on August 17, 1988, when the mother says, "Do not be sad if God takes Jan," Sylvia D. said. Only then did Walter D. find little Jan lying on a mattress in the bathroom, smothered by his vomit. But: "There was nothing to speculate," insists the mother in court.
The prosecutor Hanau resumed the investigation in March 2015, in July 2017, the buried body of the boy was exhumed. Two months later, Attorney General Mies charged with murder. The charge of manslaughter would be long since barred.