Horror Unfolds at “Cinderella Castle” as Man Attacks Two Tourists, Killing 1, Seriously Injuring the Other

cinderella castle from cinderella 1950 walt disney animation
Credit: Walt Disney Animation

An American tourist was killed and another American tourist injured after an attack that took place in southern Germany in the Swabia region of Bavaria in Schwangau. The attacks instantly made world news headlines.

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german castle that inspired cinderella castle

Credit: Flickr/aethelread

On Wednesday afternoon, two female American tourists visiting Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle were allegedly attacked by a male tourist, who is also from the United States. According to police, the man hurled both of the women more than 150 feet down a steep slope near the world-famous castle, killing one of them after sexually assaulting her.

Marienbruecke Bridge in germany

Marienbruecke Bridge near the iconic castle/Credit: Flickr/Aoife Cahill

German police say the female tourists, aged 21 and 22, reportedly met the man, age 30, near the Marienbrucke Bridge, which is a narrow footbridge or pedestrian bridge that lies 300 feet above a gorge. The man allegedly lured the women down a secluded hiking path with him, where he proceeded to physically attack the younger American woman.

Bavarian police further say that when her friend attempted to intervene, the man choked her and pushed her down the ravine before attempting to molest the woman again. Then the man reportedly pushed the 21-year-old American woman down the slope as well.

A mountain rescue team arrived following the alleged attack, and responders were able to reach both of the female victims. Members of the rescue team said the 22-year-old was “responsive” when they reached her, and she was taken to a nearby hospital. The 21-year-old woman was air flighted via helicopter to a different hospital with serious injuries and succumbed to her injuries in the hospital overnight.

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Neuschwanstein castle in southern germany surrounded by trees and foliage

Credit: Flickr/mtale

Though the male suspect initially fled the scene of the vicious attacks, he was quickly apprehended following a “massive police operation” that involved 25 emergency vehicles.

Online video from bystanders depicts the attacker being led away by police while wearing handcuffs, a t-shirt, jeans, and a baseball cap. According to Eric Abneri, the witness who recorded the video of the suspect being taken away by police, the attacker appeared to have scratches on his face. Abneri says he and his friends arrived at the scenic outlook near the famous German castle just as a helicopter arrived. He and his traveling party saw rescuers lowering themselves down to rescue the two female victims.

“He did not say a single word,” Abneri said during an interview with The Associated Press. “He didn’t open his mouth–he didn’t mumble. He just walked with the police, and that was it.”

The man was arrested and prosecutors have charged him with murder, attempted murder, and one sexual offense, per PerthNews.

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Credit: Walt Disney Animation

Neuschwanstein Castle is a famous 19th-century German castle and a popular tourist spot in the Bavarian Alps that welcomes as many as 6,000 visitors per day during peak season. The beautiful castle took nearly a quarter of a century to build and stands 213 feet high. It’s said to have served as the inspiration for Cinderella’s castle in Disney’s feature-length animated film Cinderella (1950), as well as Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort.

As of the time of this publication, no motive has been established in the attacks, and the victims and their alleged attacker have yet to be named.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!