German police find DNA of neo-Nazi cell member on girl's remains

October 13, 2016 3:26 PM EDT

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BERLIN (Reuters) - German police said on Thursday that DNA matching that of a dead member of a neo-Nazi cell had been found on the recently discovered remains of a girl who disappeared 15 years ago in Bavaria.

Peggy Knobloch was 9 years old in 2001 when she disappeared on the way home from school. Police are trying to determine how DNA matching that of Uwe Boehnhardt, who was part of the so-called National Socialist Underground (NSU) cell that killed nine foreigners and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007, ended up on the girl's body.

Her remains were found in July in a forest some 150 km (95 miles) from the city of Eisenach where Boehnhardt and gang-mate Uwe Mundlos committed suicide in 2011 after police discovered their three-member cell by chance.

Beate Zschaepe, the lone surviving member of the cell, is currently on trial for her alleged role in the killings of eight Greeks, one Turk and a German policewoman. She broke her silence last month, telling the court that she disavowed the ideology behind the killings and condemned them.

The discovery in 2011 of the cell shocked Germany, and official investigations since then have shown the authorities massively underestimated the risk of far-right violence.

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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