(plural angels of death)
3. A type of serial killer, who is employed as caregiver and kills people under their care.
For my first article on Hex Files, I decided to shoot for a topic that actually makes me uncomfortable. (Which you’ll soon learn is a very, very hard thing to do) As a person who suffers from a chronic health condition, I am no stranger to a hospital bed. From personal experience, I can tell you that there is nothing more unsettling than an unpleasant hospital staff member when you are in need of comfort. If this time comes for you, trust me when I say that you will not want to put your life in the hands of a staff member who is visibly displeased or unprofessional. These are people that we are supposed to be able to trust, fully. Unfortunately, a suspected 106 hospital patients in Germany between 1999 and 2005 were not so lucky.
Meet Niels Högel.
Niels Högel is an angel of death.
Niels Högel, is an asshole.
With the help of a some ajmaline, lidocaine and calcium chloride – Högel made a name for himself as one of Germany’s most prolific serial killers since World War II. That statement in itself is the second reason why I took such an interest in this case. We don’t have serial killers of this capacity anymore (at least that we are yet aware of) because our forensic work and technology is far too advanced for people to get away with it. But this guy did, because he took an oath to protect his patients and he killed them in the walls of their own safe space. It is believed that his killing streak started in the year 2000 when he found his first victim while working as a nurse in a clinic in Oldenburg, Germany, where he worked from 1999 to 2002. According to police, he is suspected to have killed around 40 patients in the Oldenburg clinic before moving to his next place of work at a hospital in Delmenhorst.
New job, new me. Right?
A week into his new job at the hospital in Delmenhorst, he killed again. He worked here for two years before a coworker grew suspicious, which lead to the opening of an investigation on Högel.
It is believed that Högel killed 38 patients in Oldenburg, and 62 patients in Delmenhorst by systematically injecting them with a concoction of heart medication. He would then watch them fall into arrest, and attempt to resuscitate them with the intention of impressing his coworkers – clearly this was an unsuccessful mission, seeing as most of them just died. Investigators were left with 500 patient files to examine and a trail of 134 bodies to exhume from 67 different cemeteries as a part of the investigation involving both hospitals in Northern Germany. This does not include a number of patients who had already been cremated.
Police involved have said that if local health officials hadn’t hesitated in alerting authorities, Högel could have been stopped. In fact, he received a good reference from his Oldenburg employer when he went to Delmenhorst – even though it was documented that an usual number of patients had met their maker under his supervision. In 2005 Högel was caught when a fellow nurse saw that a previously stable patient had developed an irregular heartbeat, and found an empty vile of heart medication in the waste bin.
And guess who was waiting in the wing – ready to resuscitate…
The patient died the next day.
Niels Högel was convicted of attempted murder in 2008 thanks to this little slip up. He was later sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in 2015 of 2 murders and 2 attempted murders, and was expected to be facing further charges based on pending investigation…
In January 2018 while already in prison serving a life sentence, Högel was charged with 97 counts of murder – but this number could very well continue to climb.
He has described his heinous behavior as “relatively spontaneous” and claims to be “honestly sorry”
How refreshing, a serial killer with a lil’ dash of empathy.
featured photo : cbsnews