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Man drowns self using wife’s head in concrete block, Austrian police say

AP, AFP-JIJI

A man strangled and dismembered his wife, entombed her head in concrete and then used the concrete block as a weight to drown himself in an Austrian lake, authorities said Tuesday.

Police official Gottfried Mitterlehner said the couple were a 72-year-old man and his 71-year-old wife from Germany but did not further identify them.

Officials told reporters the head was found in a block of concrete in a bag attached to the man’s hand. The other hand also was weighted down.

The corpse and the bag were recovered by police divers from the waters of Traunsee on Monday. A day earlier, two suitcases containing the woman’s remains were found floating close to the lake’s shore near the town of Gmunden, around 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Salzburg.

Autopsies suggested that the woman was strangled between Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 and that the man drowned some time later. There was no indication of involvement by a third party.

“We believe first and foremost that (the man’s death) was suicide,” state prosecutor Birgit Ahamer told a news conference.