Bernd Mansholt with his son Mike
The father of a 17-year-old German teenager whose body was found at the bottom of Dingli Cliffs last year is demanding answers from the Maltese police force and forensic doctors after his son’s body was returned to him with most of his organs missing.
Mike Mansholt’s body was found at the foot of Dingli cliffs in July 2016, with an autopsy later ruling he had been dead for around a week.
His cause of death remains a mystery but does not appear to have been caused by a fatal fall; there were no fractures or major wounds on his body, the bike he had been riding was barely damaged, and his backpack (which contained his phone and a GoPro camera) was never found. Indeed, back then the police refused to rule out foul play in his murder.
Fast forward 17 months and not much has changed, a lack of progress which prompted Mike’s father Bernd Mansholt to travel to Malta with a journalist from German paper Nordwest-Zeitung in search for answers…including what happened to his son’s heart, lungs, liver pancreas, right kidney, adrenals, urinary bladder, prostate, stomach, small intestine and brain.
Forensic scientist Prof. Mario Scerri said Mike’s brain had liquefied and wild animals had eaten his organs before he had arrived at the Mater Dei morgue. However, the corpse was then transferred to Germany and re-examined by forensics at the Medical University of Hannover who could not find any animal bites on the body and who did not consider a complete liquefaction of the brain possible.
Moreover, the German forensic team found that Mike’s body had not been embalmed as the Maltese forensic team stated it had. Bernd Mansholt informed Scerri of this contradiction by e-mail, and the Maltese forensic expert responded that the German physicians were wrong on all counts and that Mike’s body had indeed been embalmed by a formaldehyde solution.
The case took another strange turn earlier this year when the public prosecution department of Oldenburg – the Mansholts’ hometown – received the investigation file into Mike’s death from the Maltese authorities. Bernd Mansholt was expecting the file to include a detailed autopsy report, a police investigation report and photos of the body.
However, the file turned out to contain just a single page which summarised that Mike’s cause of death was unknown and that his organs had been eaten by animals before the corpse was found. It contained no photographs and the police report did not extend beyond the day the body was found.
“The answer to the question of what the Maltese authorities are doing is obvious to Mike’s father: they are doing nothing,” the Nordwest-Zeitung report reads.
Bernd Mansholt’s theory is that the Maltese forensic doctors are trying to cover up how they had rushed up the autopsy on Mike, taken out his organs and either threw them away or gave them to the University for research.
To back up this theory, the German newspaper cites late journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s report on Labour MP and doctor Etienne Grech, who had boasted the he had often taken organs from the morgue to study at home when he was a medical student.
Bernd Mansholt and his wife Suzanne have filed a court application before magistrate Marseanne Farrugia, who conducted the inquiry into their son’s death, to investigate what happened to the organs and why the Maltese forensics had claimed the body had been embalmed.