Four years ago, the unidentified man ate his lunch and then fell ill, as did two of his co-workers. The other two suffered serious kidney damage, but the sickest individual suffered irreversible brain damage and went into a vegetative state. A court in Bielefeld confirmed this week that the now-26-year-old man had died.
The workers’ assailant, identified only as Klaus O. 57, due to German privacy laws, was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced in March 2019 to life in prison, where he remains.
Klaus was reportedly quiet and reticent at the metal-fitting company where he worked. Few of his colleagues had any issues with him, most not finding him particularly noteworthy. As NPR noted at the time, Klaus’ manager described him as “conspicuously inconspicuous,” spending most of his time with his headphones on and rarely talking to anyone.
A colleague would later say that Klaus rarely spoke.
“I had no problem with Klaus, and I accepted that he does not want any contact. There was never an argument,” one of his victim’s said.
Similarly, one of the lawyers on the case revealed that — whenever Klaus did speak to anybody — it was usually just smalltalk over coffee. He never made any attempt to dig deeper into his co-workers’ lives and he certainly didn’t have any arguments with anyone.
In fact, Klaus was so mundane that no one suspected he could be tampering with employees’ lunches, causing them to get sick.
For example, during lunch one day, a worker noticed that his sandwich had been tainted with white powder. He didn’t think much of it at the time, but the next day, he found the same white powder on his sandwich. He approached his bosses with his concerns and security cameras were installed to determine what was happening.
The cameras proved to be effective, as they eventually caught Klaus opening up his colleagues’ lunches and tampering with them, before calmly putting them back where they belonged and walking away.
Authorities eventually searched Klaus’ home, where they found a makeshift chemical laboratory and a number of heavy metals, including lead acetate, cadmium, lead, and mercury.
The 26-year-old may not be the only person Klaus has killed. At least 21 people at the metal-fitting company have died over the years. However, Klaus has not been conclusively linked to those deaths.