A young woman in Germany is accused of seeking out a lookalike on social media and murdering her in order to fake her own death.
The case began when the body of a young woman was found last August in a parked car in Ingolstadt, southern Germany, reported The Guardian on Monday.
She was initially identified as Sharaban K, a 23-year-old beautician who is of Iraqi descent.
But suspicions about the identity arose following an autopsy, and the victim was eventually named as Khadidja O, an Algerian beauty blogger who was also 23.
The victim and accused are referred to by their first names and an initial, which is customary in the German legal system.
The two women, who both had long, black, straight hair, a similar complexion and wore heavy make-up, looked “strikingly alike”, police said.
German media are now calling the case the “doppelganger murder”.
Sharaban K was picked up by Bavarian police on Aug 19 last year, along with a 23-year-old Kosovan named as Sheqir K.
But the authorities did not speculate about a motive until this week.
“Investigations have led us to assume that the accused wanted to go into hiding because of a family dispute and fake her own death to that effect,” Ms Veronika Grieser of the Ingolstadt state prosecutor’s office said on Monday morning.
According to the authorities, Sharaban K had reached out to several women who looked like her on social media sites in the week before the murder.
Khadidja O agreed to meet up, lured by what German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung said was a cosmetics offer.
Sheqir K and Sharaban K are accused of collecting the victim from her apartment on the day of the murder, then taking her by car to a forested area between Heilbronn, her home town, and Ingolstadt. There, they allegedly stabbed her to death.
A spokesman for German police, Mr Andreas Aichele, told German tabloid Bild that “the victim was killed with over 50 thrusts of the knife, the face completely disfigured”.
The body was found in the backseat of Sheqir K and Sharaban K’s car by the banks of the Danube River by the victim’s parents on Aug 16.
Arrest warrants against the pair were issued last Thursday and Friday and they face life in prison if convicted.