German man is tortured to death and his daughter murdered ‘by gang who wanted to steal his violins’ 


German father is tortured to death and his daughter also murdered ‘by gang who wanted to steal his Stradivarius violins’ in Paraguay

  • Police say the local museum owner and instrument maker’s body showed signs of torture
  • Three arrests have been made but police believe more people were involved in the crime
  • Police found four Stradivarius violins in the possession of one of the suspects as well as multiple firearms


Paraguayan police have detained two Germans and a Chilean suspected of brutally killing a German man and his daughter while stealing documents proving the authenticity of highly valuable violins.

Bernard von Bredow, a museum owner and instrument maker, was killed along with his 14-year-old daughter Lydia at their home in Aregua last month, and police said Mr Von Bredow’s body showed signs of torture.

Police commissioner Hugo Grance said four violins believed to have been made by revered Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari as well as several large rifles were found in the possession of Volker Grannass, a 58-year-old German who lived near the Von Bredow residence.  

Also arrested were Yves Steinmetz, 60, and Chilean Stephen Darchinger, 51.

Police also found several large rifles in the possession of one of the suspects

Mr Grance said that Mr Von Bredow apparently had left the violins with Grannas during a trip to Germany, and was told when he returned that they had been destroyed in a fire.

‘Our principal hypothesis is that the motive for the double crime was to find the international certification of authenticity of the violins so they could be sold,’ he said.

Prosecutor Lorena Ledesma said officials were seeking further evidence because they suspect more people were involved.

Violins crafted by Stradivari in the 17th and 18th centuries can sell for millions of dollars.

Mr Von Bredow gained notice as a teenager when he discovered the complete skeleton of a mammoth near his hometown of Siegsdorf in Bavaria. He later founded a museum on mammoths and also pursued work in biology, geology and other fields, according to the biography on his museum’s website.

Von Bredow's estate in Aregua, Paraguay was 'was found in complete disarray and blood stains indicated that the Germans were probably killed elsewhere on the property.'

Von Bredow’s estate in Aregua, Paraguay was ‘was found in complete disarray and blood stains indicated that the Germans were probably killed elsewhere on the property.’

(Picture from file) Stradivarius violins are some of the most sought after musical instruments on the planet for their craftsmanship, acoustic sound, and value

(Picture from file) Stradivarius violins are some of the most sought after musical instruments on the planet for their craftsmanship, acoustic sound, and value

Neighbours in Aregua said Mr Von Bredow had settled in the town two years ago and dedicated himself to making violins.

Mr Grance said last week that the Von Bredow house ‘was found in complete disarray and blood stains indicated that the Germans were probably killed elsewhere on the property. The man had traces of having been tortured.’

The officer said the evidence at the scene indicates ‘that two or more individuals sought something’ inside the house.

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