German police on Aug. 24 launched an attempted murder investigation after seven people fell ill in a case of suspected poisoning at a university.
Hesse state police set up a 40-member homicide squad under the name Licht (“light”) to investigate a case at Darmstadt Technical University where several students and staff members experienced nausea and some had bluish discoloration on their limbs, according to media reports and updates from the university.
According to reports, six people were hospitalized while a 30-year-old student had been left in critical condition but was stabilized on Aug. 23 after consuming a variety of food and drink from small kitchens in the Lichtwiese campus of the university.
Police suspect that several freely accessible cartons of milk and water containers in the kitchens were contaminated over the weekend with a “harmful substance” that they described had a noticeably “pungent smell.”
Investigators said that they had identified the substance after analyzing samples in police laboratories, but have not yet revealed what it is due to the ongoing search for the culprit.
Authorities also took food away in the affected “L 2.01” building, where the university’s Institute for Materials Science is located, and completely closed it off.
Investigators have yet to establish a motive and have yet to trace a suspect.
Police also said there was no longer any acute threat but advised students and staff to only consume food or drink that has been kept under supervision at all times.
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