Transcript: 134. The Lust Murder of Yangjie Li | Germany

You are listening to: The Evidence Locker.

Our cases have been researched using open source and archive materials. It deals with true crimes and real people. Some parts are graphic in nature and listener discretion is advised. Each episode is produced with the utmost respect to the victims, their families and loved ones.

If you were to walk the streets of Dessau-Rosslau at dusk, you’d experience a somewhat sleepy town. Its cobblestoned streets would be empty, and the stores would mostly be closed. You’d see elegant four-story buildings lining the wide streets as you walked along…

The Anhalt University of Applied Sciences encourages foreign students to study at their world-renowned institution. In 2016, no less than 800 Chinese students enrolled. Students who reside in Dessau, find the city welcoming – it’s a cosy spot to spend a year or two while furthering one’s studies at the home of Bauhaus architecture.

On the morning of May 12th, 2016, as students made their way to classes, cutting through Friedenplatz, they unknowingly walked past a tall pine tree, that was hiding a dark secret. Hours went by, as local residents, shopkeepers and students went about their business, walking by the spot. The tree was next to an apartment building, covered with scaffolding.

By mid-morning, however, the calm of the historic inner-city scene had been shattered. Police officers scurried through the lanes, emergency vehicles parked on sidewalks and sniffer-dogs with handlers foraged through every square inch. The entire town knew who they were looking for, as news of a disappearance spread through the community like wildfire.

Chinese student Yangjie Li went for a twilight run the evening before and never returned to her shared apartment. Besides her flatmates and fellow students, Yangjie did not know too many people – so there was nowhere else she could have gone but back home. Yangjie’s flatmates went out looking for her, but to no avail. It was like the streets swallowed her whole.

The next day, the worst was confirmed when her battered, half-naked body was found, hidden under a pine tree. As Yangjie’s case unfolded, the shocking truth of her last moments alive was revealed. And the prime suspect was none other, than the Chief of Police’s stepson…

>>Intro Music

Yangjie Li was born on the 9th of September 1990 in Jiaozou, Henan, China. She was an only child and their family of three was a happy one, who loved spending time together. After high school, Yangjie studied Civil Engineering at the Henan University of Science and Technology.

While she was completing her degree, Yangjie and her parents saved up, so she could one day go to Germany. It was her dream to study Bauhaus Architecture at the well-renowned school in Dessau. Every year Anhalt University Professor Rudolph Lückmann and his Chinese wife travel to China to interview possible candidates for the highly desirable post-graduate degree. Yangjie immediately made a strong impression on the professor – she was an open and communicative person, a bubbly young woman, who could not resist the temptation to mention her dad was a police officer during their interview. She was intelligent and well-qualified – the perfect candidate to enrol at Dessau.

In 2015, Yangjie’s opportunity came and off to Germany she went. It was sad to say goodbye to her parents, but she promised to stay in regular contact. Everyone who knew Yangjie, knew how much she adored her parents. A part of the reason for her studying architecture, was so that she could design their dream house. She wanted to use Bauhaus principals to design a home with a strong focus on function: harmoniously balancing geometric shapes and using glass to create space and light.

Yangjie settled into her new life in Germany rather well. Dessau is often called a small, big city, less than a two-hour drive southwest of Berlin. She stayed in a shared apartment in the centre of Dessau-Rosslau and loved being in the heart of all the action. The town centre is charming with its half-timbered buildings, stone lanes and small shops selling local produce.

The University is the heartbeat of the small city. It offers courses in English and draws students from all over the world. Professor Rudolph Lückmann who had interviewed Yangjie’s back in China, was her lecturer in Dessau too. He knew his students well and was sympathetic about the fact that most of them were far away from home. He encouraged Yangjie who excelled in his class and he was confident that she would get her master’s degree at the end of the academic year. In May 2016, she was only months away from graduating.

Yangjie did not speak a lot of German but could manage okay in English. For the most part, she preferred to mingle with other Chinese students – a large group within the student community. Yangjie was sporty and no matter how demanding her studies were, she always found time in the day to go for a run.

On Wednesday afternoon the 11th of May 2016, Yangjie went shopping for some household items. It was a mild, early-spring day and as soon as she got home, she changed into her running gear: a white-grey shirt with black pants and black sneakers. At 8:30pm, Yangjie said goodbye to her flatmates, popped her earphones in and left for her twilight run. She took her usual route through the old town, passed the museums and through the city park. But as the night fell, Yangjie Li was still not back. She would never return home again.

Her flatmates, all foreign students, were worried, but they did not quite know what to do. They called Yangjie’s cell phone, but she didn’t pick up. Some of them went out to look for her, while others waited at the apartment, hoping she would come back. But she didn’t, and there was no sign of her anywhere along her regular route.

The following morning, the concerned group of friends informed the liaison officer at the university, who assisted Chinese students living in Dessau. They told her that Yangjie went for a run and never made it back – it was very unusual for her NOT to spend the night at home. The liaison officer immediately called police to report Yangjie missing.

Police acted swiftly and deployed hundreds of officers all around the city to search for the missing foreign student. The Chinese community took to social media and news of Yangjie’s disappearance spread quickly. Chinese expats in Dessau-Rosslau reached out to the Chinese Embassy in Berlin to assist in the search.

Dessau is a small city, and the streets were flooded with police officers and search vehicles. Before lunchtime, everyone knew about Yangjie’s disappearance. At first, police concentrated on the City Park and surrounds, as it was a hotspot for criminal activity. A helicopter searched the area along her jogging route using a thermal imaging camera. Foot searches were also conducted, using sniffer dogs.

The last sign of life was on Wednesday night at 9:40pm, when Yangjie’s cell phone pinged off a tower near her home. The morning after her disappearance police tried calling her cell phone and a man answered, but before they could talk, he hung up. Four minutes later, the phone was switched off.

Police held grave concerns for Yangjie’s safety, and the search continued through the night. Her parents were informed about her disappearance and Professor Lückmann assured them he would let them know as soon as there was any news.

At 11am on Friday the 13th of May, they found her. Yangjie’s half-naked body was concealed under a bush, at the foot of a large pine tree in Hausmanstrasse, near Friedensplatz. Tragically, she was only a stone’s throw away from her apartment, and less than 300m from a police station. All along, she had been hidden in plain sight.

Wounds to Yangjie’s head and face were so severe that police could not make a positive identification on the spot. Her entire body was covered in blood. Professor Rudolph Lückmann was called to identify her remains. He recalled:

“Her mouth, along with the face, was brutally smashed off. Her disfigured body was covered with wounds from a hard struggle for survival.”

An extensive police search of the area did not yield many clues. Yangjie’s clothing, her cell phone or the key to her apartment could not be located. Forensic examiners concluded that she was dumped at the spot where she was found and that her murder had taken place elsewhere. The clock was ticking, and police had to find the murderer, and the crime scene.

Because Yangjie was found murdered so close to her apartment, other students feared for their own safety. Her keys had not been found, so chances were, the monster who killed Yangjie could let himself into their apartment. The murdered could be among them, seeing as no one had been arrested.

On the 18th of May, 600 Chinese students held a vigil at the Seminarplatz. 150 people also took part in a memorial night run from the city park. As per Chinese custom, the mourning period lasts 49 days – that is seven times seven days, with weekly prayers. These ceremonies helped to keep Yangjie’s story in the public eye. It was a reminder to police that Yangjie was missed, and a warning to the killer that they would not forget.

No one could think why anyone would want to end the life of such a lovely person. Murmurs went around town, speculating if the attack on Yangjie was a Xenophobic one.

Although Dessau’s police force prides itself on the fact that 89% of murder cases in their jurisdiction is solved, and that no sexual assault cases are ever left unsolved, they did not have the best reputation when it came to protecting foreigners.

In 2005, Oury Jalloh, an asylum seeker from Sierra Leone, died under mysterious circumstances in police custody. Oury was convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to three and a half years in prison. One night, a fire broke out in his cell, while his hands and feet were tied to his bedframe. When the fire alarm went off, the guard turned it off without investigating further. Two guards were convicted of manslaughter, but Oury’s death highlighted a dark undertone of racism in law enforcement.

Yangjie Li’s murder case made big waves in Chinese media. A warning was issued by the Chinese Embassy in Berlin, warning young students to be careful in Germany – to avoid jogging alone and talking to strangers. The university appointed a psychologist to provide counselling to Yangjie’s friends and fellow students, still some Chinese students withdrew applications and returned home.

Back in China, once DNA tests confirmed the body found on Hausmannstrasse was Yangjie, her parents were informed. Anhalt University raised funds to cover their travel costs, and they left for Germany as soon as they could, arriving a week after their daughter disappeared.

Yangjie’s dad, a police officer, trusted local law enforcement, but offered to help with the investigation. As soon as he arrived, he asked to be taken to the place where his daughter’s body was found.  

The initial theory, formed by German investigators, was that Yangjie was kidnapped and taken somewhere outside of the city centre. At this unknown location she was raped and killed before her murderer returned her body. However, this did not make much sense to Yangjie’s dad. He felt that the murder occurred in close proximity to where Yangjie’s body was found. To Yangjie’s father, the neighbouring building looked like the most feasible starting point for an investigation.

The report of the post mortem examination concluded that Yangjie had suffered a violent and brutal death, and that she fought to the bitter end. Her injuries were so extensive, the pathologist could not determine the exact cause of death. Any of the injuries could have killed her, and they were inflicted more or less at the same time. Yangjie was sexually assaulted, had multiple broken ribs, blood in her lungs, and countless bruises all over her body. Skin cells under Yangjie’s nails showed how she must have tried to fend off her attacker. Thanks to the skin, semen and other bodily fluids they were able to obtain a DNA profile. It was processed by the Federal Criminal Police Office, but they could not find a match.

On Monday the 23rd of May, a 20-year-old man sauntered into Dessau Police Station on Wolfgangstrasse. Sebastian Flech was a familiar face around the precinct, seeing as his mother Ramona was a police officer and his stepdad was the Police Chief. So, when Sebastian said he wanted to make a statement regarding the body found near his house, it was quite a shock.

Sebastian said that the foreign DNA on Yangjie’s body could be his, seeing as he saw her the night before her disappearance. Sebastian claimed his fiancée, Xenia Lang, met Yangjie and asked if she would be interested in a threesome. According to Sebastian, Yangjie agreed and thee three of them had consensual sex. This exert from his original statement:

“Xenia had the idea for the threesome. She wanted to spice up our relationship. She brought the Chinese woman upstairs. She wanted it a little harder. We had sex for an hour. Everything voluntarily. I came three or four times in that time.”

According to Sebastian, he had nothing to do with Yangjie’s death and that she was alive and well when she left their apartment.

Police detained Sebastian while they went out looking for his fiancée. Xenia was in town, making her way home with her two small children when police caught up with her. Both Sebastian and Xenia denied any involvement in Yangjie’s murder. Sebastian claimed he only came forward to clarify why his DNA was on a murder victim’s body. The couple volunteered DNA swabs and was insistent that they had nothing to hide.

With two possible suspects in custody, forensic investigators descended on their apartment. The location of the apartment was deeply significant: it was located in a building one over Yangjie’s home. The tree where Yangjie’s body was found, was adjacent to the very same apartment block – the very building Yangjie’s father theorised could have been where the murder scene was.

Police searched Sebastian and Xenia’s apartment at number 9 Johannisstrasse but did not find much. Construction was being done at the apartment block and some residents chose to evacuate the building during the renovations. So, on the night of Yangjie’s disappearance, only a handful of apartments were inhabited.

A forensic team went through the entire building and when they searched an empty apartment on the first level, they hit paydirt. They had come across a torture chamber… Blood splatter was everywhere: on the floor and as high as three metres up on the wall. The only information that was made public at the time, was that they found blood and ‘other items. Forensic crime scene investigators concluded that Yangjie died a long, violent and painful death, with her torture most likely lasting several hours.

When DNA found on Yangjie’s body proved to be Sebastian Flech’s, police arrested both him and his fiancée Xenia Lang. Police believed that the couple had lured Yangjie Li to their apartment, where they proceeded to rape her. After the fact, they killed her, to conceal their crime. Sebastian and Xenia both maintained that they had nothing to do with Yangjie’s death.

On the 24th of May, chief prosecutor Folker Bittmann held a press conference, announcing that they had two suspects in custody. He denied allegations that Sebastian’s mother and stepfather were under suspicion and made it clear that Sebastian gave himself up. Bittmann recounted Sebastian statement about the alleged threesome, and that Yangjie had consented to everything. This public announcement of the suspects’ version of events angered Yangjie’s family and the Chinese community in Dessau. They felt the story tainted her character and shamed her as a victim.

The Li family entered a formal, disciplinary complaint against Bittmann for publicly speaking about unsubstantiated allegations regarding their daughter. However, the Ministry of Justice did not take Bittmann off the case.

Yangjie’s parents hired a private investigator to conduct an independent investigation into their daughter’s murder. When Dessau police searched Yangjie’s apartment, they neglected to take her diary. Her father handed it over to police, knowing full well how much it could help the investigation along. They knew Yangjie was lured into the apartment and never once believed that she had joined Sebastian and Xenia for a threesome as they claimed. Her diary could give investigators an insight into the type of person she was. Chinese newspapers were critical of the German legal system and were sceptical if police were up to the task of solving Yangjie’s murder.

Because the suspect’s parents were senior police officers, questions were asked about what Sebastian had said to them. His mother Ramona had been in the force for 24 years and his stepfather Jörg was Police Chief in Dessau. Ramona assisted with the initial investigation, and questioned residents who lived in the same apartment block as her son. She claimed that the head of the homicide squad informed her that Sebastian would be questioned. She did not find it strange, seeing as everyone who lived in the direct vicinity had to be seen.

Sebastian came forward ten days after Yangjie’s body was found. In that time, he called his mother no less than forty times – making as many as ten calls on one day. It did not look good for Ramona: did she help her son to cover up a brutal murder? And what exactly was Jörg’s involvement? Because of conflict of interest, the investigation was taken over by Halle Police.

Around this time, it emerged that Sebastian had 40 other criminal charges against him, including arson, damage to property and assault. Proceedings in all the cases were pending and everything pointed to multiple cover-ups orchestrated by his mother, Ramona, in order to keep him out of prison.

Investigators had a closer look at the Flech family’s background. Ramona had Sebastian when she was 19 years old. She was a single mom and, in their bubble, mother and son were inseparable. Ramona married Jörg a couple of years later and, even though he took Sebastian in as his own child, he was always an outsider to their relationship. Whenever Sebastian was in trouble, his mom would come to his defence. In his early years at school there was in incident where Sebastian groped a female teacher. When Ramona was informed about her son’s inappropriate behaviour, she refused to believe it and turned the situation around, blaming the teacher for touching her son.

As a teenager, Sebastian molested a 13-year-old family member and was sent to Merseberg Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. However, his mother who took him out, claiming he was homesick and that she wouldn’t allow him to receive treatment any longer. As a police officer, Ramona should probably have been more attuned to the red flags showing up in her son’s psychiatric report. It stated that Sebastian…

“…showed few signs of conscience and no signs of empathy for others, yet he always felt himself treated unfairly.”

At the time of the murder, Sebastian and Xenia had been together for three years. He was unemployed and received financial support from services. He was a clean-cut young man, with a muscular build who, at 1.85m tall, towered above his small-statured fiancée.

A week after Yangjie’s body was found, Ramona and Jörg reportedly helped Sebastian and Xenia move out of the apartment. They denied going into the apartment, but a fellow police officer saw both of them there, carrying bags on that Saturday. Ramona insisted that she was never inside the apartment, because she had injured her knee and could not walk up the stairs. She said she only spoke to Xenia on the Sunday evening, when she called from Sebastian’s phone to tell her the move is done. Jörg admitted that he was outside the apartment on that Saturday. He claimed he drove a load of household items over to the couple’s new place, and that he never went inside. That was all.

On the 6th of June, the day after Yangjie Li’s funeral service, Ramona and Jörg were both on supposed ‘sick leave’. They used their time off work to host a party to celebrate the opening of their beer garden/restaurant, called ‘Freundschaft’ (that is: Friendship). While Yangjie’s family and friends mourned her death, Ramona handed out champagne flutes and Jörg worked behind the bar.

Both officers were issued with a ‘forced leave of absence’. On the 8th of June, public prosecutor Klaus Tewes stated that there was an ongoing investigation into Ramona and Jörg, to establish their involvement in the murder case.

Jörg had been Police Chief for four years at this point and stated that the restaurant’s opening had been years in the making. But his superiors felt they could have postponed it out of respect for the murder case their son was involved in. Jörg was transferred to Aschersleben, but when a court later dismissed the case against them, and he was reinstated as Police Chief in Dessau.

The attorney general in Naumburg also concluded that neither Ramona nor Jörg had any influence on the investigation into their son, nor did they help him cover up the crime.

Investigators from Halle knew that all eyes were on them to bring the case to court. They could not afford any mistakes. German authorities had a point to prove and Chinese media would not tolerate any oversights.

Fortunately for them, the public also took great interest in the case. A shop-owner who had been away on vacation handed police their strongest piece of evidence. The antique store on the ground level of Sebastian’s and Xenia’s apartment block had CCTV footage, showing Yangjie’s encounter with her killers.

The black and white video, taken on the evening of Yangjie’s disappearance shows Xenia hovering at the entrance to the apartment building. Then Yangjie jogs into the frame and Xenia puckers up. She calls Yangjie over and appears to be distressed. The logical conclusion from her hand signs and body language was that she asks Yangjie to help with something in her apartment upstairs. Yangjie appears to be a bit apprehensive. She looks over her shoulder, like she’s hoping someone else is there. But no one was around and Yangjie followed Xenia inside – not knowing that she was a lamb to the slaughter.

Up to this point, police believed that Sebastian was the main perpetrator, but seeing the footage of Xenia proved that SHE was the one who had lured Yangjie inside. Unlike her fiancé, Xenia was timid and shy, almost childlike in appearance and manner. Xenia had had three children, of which one died due to sudden infant death syndrome. Of Xenia’s two surviving children, one was from a previous relationship, and the other one was Sebastian’s.

Reportedly, the evening before their arrest, Xenia called Ramona and told her that they had had a threesome with a Chinese girl. She was concerned that the girl they met for sex was the one found near their home. Xenia even went so far as to say, ‘they all look the same’. Romana then called Sebastian and told him to go to police the following day. However, before Sebastian showed up at the station, neither Romana nor Jörg informed their colleagues about the situation.

While on remand, Sebastian didn’t exactly make any friends. He constantly complained about everything to prison officials: the prison uniform wasn’t good; they didn’t allow enough time or variety in terms of exercise… The prison doctor complained about vulgar insults from Sebastian. It was evident that he had no respect for authority and made it very clear that he did not think he belonged in prison.

Forensic psychiatrist, Bernd Langer noted that there were only two things in Sebastian’s life that kept him going: sex and power. Weeks before Yangjie’s murder, he searched porn websites, using the keywords ‘rape’, ‘Asian women’, ‘brutality’. Dr Langer said:

One would expect some level of anxiety about the crime, or some degree of empathy – but this was not displayed at all.”

The psychiatrist goes on to explain why Sebastian felt he was treated unfairly. Sebastian said there was a xenophobic component to the case, and that he was persecuted because Yangjie Li was Chinese. In this regard, Sebastian was perhaps not wrong. But his internet searches proved that he was specifically looking for an Asian woman. If there was a racial element to the case, it was because of HIS actions, no one else’s. And whether his victim was European or Asian did not change the fact that he committed a heinous crime.

A woman came forward and alleged that Sebastian sexually assaulted her twice in 2013. He intimidated her to such a degree that she was too scared to come forward. She remained silent for three years, until she saw he had been arrested.

The trial began on November 25, 2016 and ran till February 2017. Sebastian and Xenia pleaded not guilty. Neither admitted to anything, nor did they reveal anything. Eventually, two months into the trial, a sobbing Xenia broke her silence and let the world in to her darkest secret – the details about the night of Yangjie Li’s murder, and the events leading up to it.

Xenia Lang had a troubled past… As a 12-year-old girl, she was sexually abused by her stepfather. At 16 she fell pregnant to her high school boyfriend, but he left her soon after the baby was born. When Xenia met Sebastian, she was familiar with the dynamic between an abuser and his victim, and she entered a life of subservience – like a moth to a flame.

Xenia told the court that Sebastian derived pleasure from hurting his sexual partners. He even drew up a contract to regulate their sex life. It was all about control. If Xenia refused sex, there was a catalogue of punishments he would choose from. He even made a home video of himself abusing her. He can be heard saying:

“Do as I want.”          

His obsession with sex was one he shared with Xenia. Outside of that, his closest relationship was with his mother. They constantly spoke to each other on the phone. His stepfather testified that Ramona was the only person who could keep Sebastian in line.

A prison psychiatrist explained that Xenia was committed to pleasing Sebastian, so much so that his wish was not only her command, but it also became what she wanted too. But sometimes things went too far. On one occasion Xenia sent Romana a text message, it read:

“Please help me! Come over immediately, but don’t tell Basti I texted you. He wants to kill me.”

Romana only responded to the message the next day. Instead of checking in on Xenia’s wellbeing, she wanted to know what Xenia did to make Sebastian threaten her. The implication was that Xenia had pushed Sebastian’s buttons and had to face the consequences.

The court waited in anticipation as Xenia began her recollection of the day of Yangjie’s murder. According to Xenia, Sebastian had threatened to leave her if she didn’t bring him a woman. When she called his bluff and refused, Sebastian exploded and said he was going to harm the children. That is when Xenia took to the street, desperate to find someone, anyone… And the kind-hearted Yangjie happened to into her sight, at that very moment, jogging into the eye of the storm.

Xenia asked Yangjie’s help to carry a box upstairs. As soon as they went inside the building, Sebastian appeared from his hiding spot and overpowered Yangjie – who never saw him coming. She was heading up the stairs and he tackled her from behind. He forced her into the empty apartment, that became the torture chamber for the following hours. Sebastian and Xenia tried to tie Yangjie up, but she resisted and almost got away. Then Xenia heard her children screaming upstairs, so she left Yangjie and Sebastian alone. Once she had calmed her children down, Sebastian called her to come back.

A petrified Yangjie was on the floor and Sebastian told Xenia to use Google Translate to communicate with their victim. First, he wanted to know if she had any sexually transmitted diseases. Then he asked if anyone would notice if she went missing. Yangjie answered by shaking her head for ‘no’ and nodding slowly for ‘yes’. Sebastian was satisfied with the information and said he wanted to smoke one more cigarette before they began. In the meanwhile, he ordered Xenia to have sex with Yangjie. Xenia complied and forced herself onto Yangjie, who was struggling and fighting to get away. When Xenia was done, she was made to watch her fiancé rape Yangjie.

Xenia then returned to their apartment to put the children to bed. According to Xenia, Yangjie was still alive when she left. She had the opportunity to call for help at this point, but she chose not to. Once the children were asleep, she returned to the diabolical scene, created by her fiancé. He told her that he had killed Yangjie. Xenia was mortified and wanted to know why he killed her. An ice-cold Sebastian answered:

“Because I could.”

Forensic evidence showed that Sebastian brutally raped Yangjie multiple times and then

bashed her head on the wooden floor. Then, with his victim still alive, he proceeded to strangle her and plunged her head into a bucket of water, hoping to drown her. Yangjie had so many defensive wounds, it was evident that she fought with every last bit of strength she had to stay alive. She did everything she could, but in the end, her attacker got the better of her.

After midnight, Sebastian and Xenia carried Yangjie’s body to an abandoned part of the apartment building, out back. They dragged her body out of the window on the first floor, onto a scaffolding, from where they threw her down. Yangjie fell under the pine tree, where she was eventually found.

On the CCTV footage supplied by the antique store owner – Sebastian can be seen exiting the building in the early hours of May 12th and walking in the direction of the tree. Moments later he went back inside. From the footage it is obvious that he went to check on his victim’s body, and probably moved her slightly to make sure she was hidden. He did not appear stressed or panicked in the least.

The prosecutor laid out the motive: Sebastian pressured Xenia to present him with something new, to provide sexual satisfaction. It was a diabolical sex-pact, directed by Sebastian Flech. Yangjie was killed so that Sebastian and Xenia could live out their sexual fantasies.

During the trial Sebastian only spoke once, and that was when a police officer took the witness stand. Sebastian exploded, saying:

“Shut up!”

For the rest of the trial, he didn’t say a word. He maintained his innocence in killing Yangjie, but the evidence contradicted him. Yangjie’s blood was on Sebastian’s shoes, and Xenia was the last person seen with Yangjie, luring her into their apartment.

The trial continued throughout 2017. In May, a year after the murder, The Anhalt University held a memorial ceremony on the Dessau campus. In Yangjie’s memory, they planted white rose bush on campus. An altar with a photo of Yangjie was adorned with an offer of fruit and money. Fruit, so she won’t go hungry in the afterlife, money, so she would be taken care of. They also burnt a letter from her parents, hoping that the words would reach Yangjie in the afterlife. In the letter, her parents appealed to law enforcement to let justice prevail.

In August, the trial was finally reaching an end. In Germany, a person can be tried under juvenile criminal law till the age of 21. This was granted to Xenia, who was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for sexual assault. Murder charges against Xenia were dropped.

However, due to the nature of the crime he committed, Sebastian was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison for the murder and rape of Yangjie Li. He remained emotionless and had no reaction when his verdict was read. Sebastian and Xenia had to pay 60,000EURO in damages.

Psychologists testified that this was a case of folie a deux – the madness of two. This form of psychosis is a telepathic condition where two people share the same delusional beliefs. Individuals with this condition are socially isolated and do not have a lot of interaction with anyone other than themselves. Sebastian’s and Xenia’s forbidden fantasies were brought into reality together, and together they acted it out.

Judge Uda Schmidt called Yangjie’s murder an ‘incomprehensible crime’ and compared her killers to notorious British ‘Moors Murderers’ Myra Hindley and Ian Brady.

Sebastian appealed his verdict, but it was rejected by the Federal Court of Justice in 2018. Although a life sentence in Germany could be as little as 15 years, Sebastian Flech won’t see the outside of prison anytime soon. The judge ruled ‘no possibility of parole’, due to the aggravating circumstances of the murder.

Court-appointed psychiatrist, Dr Langer agrees with this verdict. He is not optimistic about the possibility of reform in Sebastian’s case. In an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung, the psychiatrist recalled a conversation with the convicted killer. He claimed he asked Sebastian if he would be open to change, to which the young man replied:

“I am who I am. I don’t want to change. You can get along with me as I am, or don’t bother trying.”

Ramona and Jörg’s beer garden shut its doors after 18 months, at the end of 2017. Reviews were unforgiving, people stated that the place ‘smelt like blood’ and that they ‘felt Miss Li’s eyes on them’. But their son is still alive. Yangjie Li’s parents left Germany with their daughter’s ashes in an urn. All her hopes and dreams, her future taken from them, to satisfy the bestial urges of a deluded man and his sycophant sidekick.

If you’d like to read more about this case, have a look at the resources used for this episode in the show notes.

Also visit and like our Facebook Page at” to see more about today’s case. If you like our podcast, please subscribe in Apple Podcast or wherever you are listening right now.

This was The Evidence Locker. Thank you for listening!

©2021 Evidence Locker Podcast

All rights reserved. This podcast or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a podcast review.