This month’s unsolved murder case is one that has grabbed the attention of the internet, though it has never come close to being solved. Amateur sleuths do love their codes after all. So, what is YOGTZE, and why did Gunther Stoll write it down right before his untimely death? Let’s explore.
Who Was Gunther?
Gunther Stoll was a German food engineer in the middle of a spell of unemployment in 1984, while living in Anzhausen, Germany. He’d been seemingly dealing with mental health issues that were increasing in severity. His friends and family reported that he had grown more and more paranoid in the months before his death, acting nervous and jumpy. He often spoke of a mysterious “them,” claiming that “they” wanted to hurt him. He never mentioned specific individuals or organizations, or elaborated on “their” reasons for wishing him harm.
On the night of October 25, 1984, Gunther apparently had an epiphany. At around 11 PM he shouted something along the lines of “I’ve got it” or “now I’ve got it.” Nothing seemed to have triggered the outburst – there’s no record of a call coming in or Gunther frantically working at a problem. It’s unclear what, exactly, he had figured out. He scribbled “YOG’TZE” or “YO6’TZE” on a slip of paper and then scribbled it out. He then left his house.
After leaving his home, Gunther went to a pub in Wilnsdorf. He ordered one beer and then fell on his face before even drinking it. He suffered superficial injuries from the fall. Those who witnessed the fall stated that it was not due to intoxication, rather Gunther spontaneously lost consciousness. Once he came to, he left the bar in his VW Golf I. His whereabouts between the hours of about 11:30 PM and 1 AM are unknown. Around 1 AM, he made contact with a woman in Haigerseelbach, who he had known from his childhood (though it’s unclear if he just knew her due to living in close proximity or if they were friends, no sources really elaborate beyond that he knew her from childhood). She told investigators that he vaguely mentioned a “horrible incident,” but did not elaborate on it. The woman, worried for Gunther, suggested he not make the full drive home that night. Instead, she suggested he go to his parents’ house, which was closer. Gunther then left. This woman is the last known person to have seen Gunther Stoll alive.
At around 3 AM, two truckers came up on an accident on the A45, near the exit to Hagen-Sud. There was a car in the ditch that ran along the highway. The drivers claimed that they noticed an individual in a white coat walking away from the scene, towards the nearest exit. Reports say that this person was injured, but none specify how the drivers would know this simply from seeing them walking away from the scene – the best guesses I can come up with are that this individual was limping, or had blood on them. The drivers called the police after taking in the scene.
After making the call, they noticed someone in the car – Gunther Stoll was naked and barely alive in the passenger seat of his own car. When the drivers approached the car, he spoke to them. He claimed that there had been four men in his car with him, and that they were not his friends. He also claimed they had run away from the scene. That was all the information he managed to provide before he was taken away by authorities – and it was all the information he was able to provide, period, as he lost the battle with his injuries on the way to the hospital.
There is very little information available in English regarding the investigation into the death of Gunther Stoll. We know that investigators were able to discern a few things from Gunther’s body and the scene of the accident. First, Gunther was run over by a car while naked. This was likely figured out based on the severity of injuries and markings on the body, though details are hard to come by in English. It was also determined that he was not injured where his car was found. Again, I can’t find any sources in English regarding how they came to this conclusion, but it’s likely that accident reconstructionists were unable to find markings at the scene – such as tire marks, drag marks, blood, etc. – to show that the incident occurred at that scene.
While investigators were looking for information regarding this incident, they came across several accounts of a hitchhiker spotted at a nearby exit, around the time of the accident. This person has never been identified. The person who was seen wearing a white jacket and walking away from the scene of the accident has also never been identified.
The first theory that we will discuss is that the note is some sort of code. The type of code varies by the theory, but many suspect that it is a license plate. That doesn’t make much sense, as German license plates consist of a City Code and then random letters and numbers. Though some hardcore conspiracists believe it to be a license plate solely because the only city code that starts with a Y is the designation for Armed Forces vehicles. Other theories put forth regarding YOG’TZE is that the letters are a cipher that translates to numbers and that those numbers are coordinates, a phone number, or a secret code of some sort. Unfortunately, no speculations regarding the code have been fruitful.
The second theory here is that this was an unfortunate case of mental illness leading to someone’s death. We obviously cannot know what illness was plaguing Gunther, if any, but it was clear that something was wrong in the period of time before his death. If this is the case, the scenario would be that Gunther’s paranoia led him into a situation in which was run over by the car, and the individual(s) responsible put him back in the car to avoid any criminal litigation. I doubt this, though, because if it were truly an accident, why would they move Gunther’s body instead of driving off? That doesn’t make sense to me. Someone wanted him to be found in the car, maybe wanting it to be written off as a car accident. I’d also like to take a moment here to point out that paranoia is not always unfounded. Perhaps Gunther had knowledge that no one else in his life did, information that he knew would put him in danger. That could be the cause of the paranoia, rather than some sort of mental illness.
I, in all honesty, do not have a favored theory here. It’s possible that someone was “out to get” Gunther, but the code was gibberish. It’s possible it was all in his head. It’s possible the code is the key to all of this. What I keep coming back to when it comes to the scene of the accident is that Gunther was put in the car. That is a deliberate action taken to obscure the scene, and that isn’t something a panicked driver who just caused an accident would do. Then, who? Was Gunther right, and “they” were after him? There’s nothing really to point towards this shadowy entity, but there also isn’t anything to concretely point away, either.
At this point, if you’re reading this, you know that I like to end each case with information regarding how to contact the investigative authorities on the case covered. But for this case, I can’t find anything saying whether this case is even still open. I suppose if it were still open, information could be directed to the Wilnsdorf police, as Anzhausen is in the Wilnsdorf municipality.