A 300,000—euro ransom for the release of a German banker’s kidnapped wife was accidentally cleared away last week by a road maintenance team, police reported on Thursday.

The woman, 54—year—old Maria Boegerl, was taken from the couple’s home in Heidenheim, southern Germany, last Wednesday. The kidnapper then called her husband, demanding that he leave the ransom in an arranged spot along a nearby motorway.

The husband, who is the chief executive of a bank, deposited the money in an arranged spot along a motorway. But the ransom was never collected — until a road maintenance team removed the cash—filled rubbish bag 16 hours later, police said.

Nothing has been heard since from the kidnapper, or the abducted woman. Police launched a detailed search and found the woman’s car, which she was abducted in, as well as her mobile phone, which was lying near the spot where her husband deposited the ransom.

However, police are no closer to finding the woman, and have indicated that they will soon give up their search of the surrounding area.

A nationwide appeal on a television crime programme late Wednesday produced 91 new leads, in addition to more than 1,000 piece of information from members of the public — but police said none of them have significantly moved the case on.

A police spokesman insisted that the woman’s release was not jeopardised by the fact that the ransom was cleared away from the roadside.

“We would have picked up the money shortly afterwards anyway,” the spokesman said.

The woman’s family issued a desperate plea during the television programme.

“We beg you to bring this torturous situation for us to a positive end, ”the woman’s son appealed.

“Please give us a sign where our mother is,” his sister added.

Keywords: WomankidnapransomGerman bankerhusband

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