Police investigating man suspected of killing 21 co-workers by poisoning their lunches
Mercury, lead and other poisonous substances were discovered in the investigation.
This week, police in Germany have announced that they are expanding the investigation into 56-year-old suspect who may have killed as many as 21 of his co-workers in the last 18 years, by poisoning their lunches.
According to German news outlet DW, an employee of metal fittings manufacturer ARI Armaturen in the town of Schloß Holte-Stukenbrock noticed a white powder on his food.
Bringing it to his manager's attention, they went back through the video footage in the office, and discovered it had been put there by one of his co-workers.
Tilo Blechinger, the manager of the company, said: "In the beginning we thought it was a misconceived prank between co-workers, and not a murder attempt."
It was only when the powder was tested that they discovered that it was lead acetate, a tasteless but highly toxic substance that can result in massive organ failure.
Following that discovery, police investigated the suspect's home, where they discovered even more highly toxic heavy metal materials, all of which could be used as a form of poisoning.
However, upon expanding the investigation, police also discovered that 21 employees of the company had died since 2000, all under suspicious circumstances that resulted in heart attacks or cancer, conditions that could have been caused by heavy metal poisoning.
Authorities told ABC News that another employee is currently in a coma, while another is on permanent dialysis, and it is suspected that they may have been poisoned, too.
Achim Ridder, a spokesman for the local police force, said: "We hope to have [the] first results in several weeks, as some family members and several doctors are on holidays now. And some of their bodies might have to be exhumed and examined for traces of poison."
"Klaus O remained silent about the allegations and his alleged motive is still unclear."