How a German woman allegedly killed her beauty blogger doppelganger to fake her own death
When a body was found in the trunk of a young German woman’s car in August 2022, authorities and her family came to the reasonable conclusion that she was dead.
Months later, prosecutors have replaced that reasonable conclusion with an unimaginable tale dubbed the “Doppelganger murder”.
The body initially assumed to be 24-year-old Shahraban K, as it was discovered inside her Mercedes, has now been identified as 23-year-old beauty blogger Khadidja O, according to court documents wherein surnames are withheld.
On paper, the two women would have never been expected to cross paths. Shahraban K lived in Munich, while Khadidja O lived about 100 miles away Heilbronn, Baden-Wurttemberg.
But the women do have one distinct thing in common: they look extraordinarily similar.
Prosecutors say the women were brought together in a sinister plot by Shahraban K, who is alleged to have used Instagram to lure her lookalike Khadidja O to a meet-up in Ingolstadt, Bavaria. Shahraban then allegedly stabbed Khadidja O to death and dumped the body in her car in a bid to fake her own death.
Here is everything we know about this extraordinary case, in which the full names of the participants have been withheld in accordance with Germany’s strict privacy laws.
The ‘Doppleganger murder’ plot
Asked about the suspect’s possible motivation by German newspaper Bild, Veronika Grieser of the Ingolstadt public prosecutor’s office said: “It can be assumed that she wanted to go into hiding due to internal family disputes and fake her own death.”
To realise this end, the Munich resident, of German-Iraqi origin, is alleged to have set up fake Instagram accounts in order to seek out women who resembled her so that she could ensnare them as part of her elaborate and macabre plan to escape her own troubles, according to investigators.
After reportedly evaluating at least five women and dismissing them for not being close enough physical matches to herself, she eventually settled on Khadidja O, reportedly an Albanian national born in Algeria and living about 100 miles away in Heilbronn.
The suspect allegedly first reached out to her target by initially claiming to be the rapper Lune and inviting her to star in an upcoming music video.
Khadidja O was suspicious, however, and sent a direct voice message to the pop star herself to ask if the offer was genuine.
“I hope you can see it [my message] and answer me because I’m very, very unsure... it would be really cool if you could tell me if it’s real or fake,” she said.
“It’s fake, sister. Don’t answer!” Lune replied.
Undeterred, Shahraban K tried again and this time convinced Khadidja O to meet her in Ingolstadt with an offer of beauty products, having allegedly enlisted her Kosovan boyfriend, Sheqir K, 24, to help execute the plot.
The pair are then understood to have picked up their victim, driven her to a nearby forest and carried out the violent attack.
According to prosecutors, Shahraban K had told her parents she would be visiting the city to see her ex-husband but they became alarmed when she did not return or answer their phone calls, travelling to Ingolstadt themselves and eventually finding the Mercedes on 16 August in a residential area near the Danube river and close to Sheqir K’s flat.
On the back seat they saw the body of a dark-haired young woman who had been “the victim of a violent crime”, as the police phrased it in their original statement of 17 August.
Several knives were also reportedly found nearby but not the one used to kill Khadidja O, police told Bild.
The distressed couple believed the deceased was their daughter, just as the plotters had apparently intended.
However, a post-mortem examination followed by a DNA test and fingerprinting duly uncovered the true identity of the body, leading to the arrests of Shahraban K and Sheqir K, initially on manslaughter charges, after she was spotted in an Ingolstadt pizzeria.
In a second statement, police noted how “strikingly similar” the suspect and the deceased looked.
After several months of investigation with the suspects in custody, police announced on Monday the case had been upgraded to a murder charge.
The suspects are now expected to face trial and be sent to prison for life if convicted.
“We don’t have a case like this every day – especially with such a spectacular twist,” police spokesman Andreas Aichele said.
“On the day we found the body, we didn’t expect it to develop like this.”