“The pain is unbearable”

Oppressive silence, lack of trapping and tears in the eyes: At a funeral service in the Christ Church in Bodenfelde, Lower Saxony, on Tuesday evening, about 700 people commemorated 14-year-old Nina and 13-year-old Tobias. Both young people were found murdered on Sunday in a grove on the outskirts of the 3.400-souls place were found on Sunday.

Meanwhile, police have arrested a suspect from the region. An arrest warrant was to be ied against him that very evening. Many of the girl and boy's schoolmates also came to the church. The youth band of the Heinrich Roth Comprehensive School, which Nina and Tobias attended, summed up the students' grief in the song "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton. The song describes the death of a child.

Protestant parish pastor Mark Trebing echoed the despair also expressed in the song in his sermon. "God, the pain is unbearable. Carry us." For the family of the victims and many other people in Bodenfelde, time seems to stand still. "Why? Why Nina and Tobias? I also have no answer."

In the altar room the pictures of the two killed young people were set up. Candles burned. Next to them were billboards. Friends and acquaintances had tried to put their grief into words there. "Oh God, we think of our dear Nina. She was strong and brave, yet often ostracized." For Tobias, someone wrote down: "We miss our dear Tobias so much. He was such a good buddy."

The service was conducted by several pastors from the region. Students also participated. Already on Monday morning there had been a devotion in the church, to which almost all of the 500 pupils of the comprehensive school had come. The church was open to mourners all day on Tuesday.

The bodies of the two teenagers had been autopsied by Monday evening. An exact result the public prosecutor's office wants to announce only on Wednesday. Contrary to initial amptions, however, it is not said to be a sex crime.

Pastor Trebing bid farewell to the mourners, saying, "It is good to know that we are not alone in the anger, despair and grief." At the end of the service, people left the church in silence.

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Christina Cherry
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