Big Time Police Work
“Mateusz Kawecki was a 30-year-old Polish man from a small village called Hutków, in southeastern Poland. He worked in Hanover, Germany as a construction worker for about 5 years and lived with his father, who also works in Hanover.
Mateusz had a long-distance relationship with his Polish fiance, who was expecting and lived in a village called Lipia Góra in northwestern Poland. As his fiancée was about to give birth, Mateusz set out driving his 1998 BMW 525 from Hanover, Germany to Lipia Góra, Poland, after work at around 11:30 pm on March 28, 2018, and was due to arrive at around 8-9 am the following morning. It’s a 647 km (402 mi) drive. However, Mateusz never made it to Lipia Góra.
According to his father, he called Mateusz at around 10:30 am on March 29th and his son told him there was terrible traffic on the way, he waited a total of 2 hours in traffic jams due to accidents and that he was around Szczecin at that point. Szczecin is a town on the Polish-German border, on the way to Lipia Góra – he had around 214 km/133mi to go from there. Around that time, he also sent a text message to his fiancée that he would get there in around 2 hours, but he never made it to his fiancee’s. This was the last communication with Mateusz.
Becoming increasingly worried after unanswered calls to Mateusz, the fiancée got in touch with Mateusz’s sister (who also lived in Hanover) at around 5 pm, but no one is able to get through. His phone rang but he didn’t pick up. Later that evening, Mateusz’s mom went to the police but they discouraged her from filing a report as it was too early and Mateusz would likely turn up.
The family reported Mateusz as missing in both Germany and Poland anyway, but the German police refused to investigate, so the Polish police were on the case. This disconnect and the bureaucratic barrier between the German and Polish police are quite apparent throughout this entire ordeal. The family then asked the Polish police to locate Mateusz’s cellphone, which was apparently on for a couple of days after his disappearance. The police were unable to do so as Mateusz was using a German sim card. German police, again, can’t locate his phone either, as Mateusz disappeared in Poland. Later, Polish police claim that Matuesz’s phone never connected to a Polish network; it is unclear where Mateusz received the call from his father.
Frustrated with the police, Mateusz’s family begin their own investigation and thoroughly checked the entire route, going into side streets, checking with gas station staff, asking for video surveillance, going around markets in towns near the border with Mateusz’s picture, and posting posters with his image. Unfortunately, no new clues appear for the next 6 months and it seems that Mateusz, along with his car, just disappeared into thin air. The family was featured on TV multiple times and complained the police were not doing enough and not taking the matter seriously.
On September 12th, a neighbor came to Mateusz’s mom to ask about their barn, as it has been smelling for a while (since July at least) and the neighbors were starting to complain. They thought it was probably a dead animal, but couldn’t quite locate it. The neighbor eventually asked the mother if he could check below the barn’s roof – half of the barn was walled off, creating a room and an attic on top of that room. She agreed, so he climbed up and saw a pile of clothes. Upon closer inspection, he found out it was actually a dead human body – a severed head and a torso. There were also two nooses hanging from the roof and a backpack on the floor. All the stuff seemed to be Mateusz’s, yet the corpse was too decomposed to be ID’d. Mind you, in March, Mateusz wasn’t headed for his family’s house in the Southeast of Poland, instead, he was headed to his fiancee’s in the Northwest – it’s a 635km trip between the two (basically from one side of the country to the other) and his home village was about as far from Germany as you can get in Poland.
The police quickly determined the cause of death to be suicide and hand over all of Mateusz’s stuff back to his family.
Here’s where things get even weirder: 4 days after having found his body, Mateusz’s family found his shoe in the barn with his detached foot still inside it. This points to the police not having done a very good job at collecting evidence and also brought up the question of why a missing foot didn’t come up during the autopsy. Furthermore, some of Mateusz’s teeth were knocked out and stuck to his clothes with what seemed to be blood. While a head can get severed after a body has been hung for some time on a noose, it is rather difficult for teeth to get knocked out post-mortem. There also seem to be bloody patches on his clothes, although these are difficult to distinguish considering the clothes were fairly dirty. Inside his backpack, there is a Polish water bottle with cig butts inside and an orange juice box. Mateusz’s family all claim that he never drank orange juice (it’s implied he disliked it). All of this potential evidence was released without any analysis by the police.
The biggest mystery of all is his car. To this day, it hasn’t been found or seen. Not in Poland, not in Germany, not anywhere. The keys and vehicle registration were never found either, despite his wallet being in that backpack. Furthermore, his phone was among the things found and there was one more call to his uncle on March 30th. This seems like an accidental dial, as it only lasted for less than a second and never got through (the uncle never received anything). Moreover, the attic, where his body apparently hung is more or less in full view from the ground inside the barn and the family says that they used the barn throughout the summer, so it’s very unlikely they wouldn’t notice a hanging body. I think it’s also strange that given how tiny Mateusz’s village was, no one noticed Mateusz or anyone else, wandering around and trying to gain access to the barn. On one of the shows, a prosecutor (not the investigating one) also claimed that they found public transit tickets dated past his disappearance.
The Police and Public Prosecutor maintain that the death was a suicide and refuse to investigate further, despite appeals and efforts by the family.
I’m personally quite baffled as to what could have gone down here. Suicide seems unlikely as the guy had a fiancée and a kid on the way, although it’s never quite certain what goes on in someone’s head. On the other hand, if someone did indeed kill Mateusz and then staged his suicide, how did they manage to sneak into a village that is so tiny any stranger immediately stands out? The public transit tickets also seem strange.
One more thing that fascinates me is how the missing woman syndrome works here. There are a dozen cases of women who went missing under much less mysterious circumstances that got an incredible amount of media coverage in Poland. I’d have never heard of this guy if it hadn’t been for a Polish true crime podcast.”