Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
The mother of a woman whose dismembered body was found in a suitcase has told how her husband became abusive after the birth of their baby.
Victim Ekaterina Baumann’s body had been cut into pieces with a saw and stuffed in a suitcase.
It was found washed up on the banks of the River Weser in Bremerhaven, Germany.
The 32-year-old’s husband – Walter Bauman – is the prime suspect in her murder.
Now Ekaterina’s mother Svetlana has revealed that a loving husband turned into a monster after the birth of their baby.
Russian national Svetlana told German newspaper Bild: “Walter was a really caring and thoughtful husband. He was totally in love with my daughter.”
IT expert Walter had proposed to student Ekaterina just one week after they met during a holiday in Turkey in 2009.
They got married in Bremerhaven the following year. Their daughter Viktoria was born in 2017.
Svetlana, 53, explained: “It seemed as if Walter had a sudden change of mind when Viktoria was born. Ekaterina suddenly seemed utterly worthless to him.
“Walter wanted to be in control of all kinds of things. He was monitoring literally everything.”
Friends revealed that Walter watched Ekaterina all the time on a “freaky” network on CCTV cameras in the family home.
According to Svetlana, Walter yelled at his wife for handing him the wrong piece of cutlery and even over the way she wiped her mouth after dinner.
When he started beating her, Ekaterina fled the family home to stay at a women’s refuge.
Svetlana said: “Ekaterina just couldn’t stand it anymore. She filed for divorce.
“Walter claimed she moved out in the middle of the night. I assigned a lawyer and we reported her as missing.”
Local police searched the area for several days with boats, helicopters and tracking dogs before 500 volunteers got together to find Ekaterina.
Four weeks after she was reported missing a walker discovered a washed-up suitcase by the river, which contained her remains.
According to Bild, Ekaterina’s body had been sawn up, put into bin liners and stuffed in the suitcase.
After Ekaterina was found, Bremerhaven police announced: “The combined evidence and clues led to an arrest warrant being issued against the young woman’s husband.”
Walter Baumann – who has refused to make any statement – remains in custody.
State prosecutors in Bremen announced: “We continue to investigate the case.”
A friend of the suspect, identified by Bild as Alexander, 43, astonishingly described Walter as “actually a nice guy.”
Alexander attended their wedding. He revealed: “Ekaterina was the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen. We had celebrated where her body was found.”
Another pal, named only as Sergei, 40, said Walter had never been lucky with women and “wasn’t particularly well-groomed”.
Sergei told Bild that their marriage had been rock solid until the birth of their daughter in 2016.
He said: “He adored the child. From then on he wanted to decide everything. Walter became increasingly controlling. He began monitoring each of Ekaterina’s moves.
“There were cameras everywhere in the house. It was freaky.”
Saint Petersburg residents Svetlana and her husband Viktor, 57, arranged their daughter’s wedding in the Russian city on 23th March.
Svetlana told Bild she was currently fighting for her granddaughter’s custody.
She said: “We have lost our daughter. Now we want to give all the love we got to our grandchild.”
Viktoria is currently staying with a foster family in Germany.
Svetlana explained: “I am not eligible to apply for a tourist visa due to the war in Ukraine. I can send parcels to Viktoria but I cannot visit her.”