Yves Rausch was the man in the middle of the manhunt from July 13-17, 2020 in The Black Forest, a large, forested mountain range in the state of Baden-Württemberg near Oppenau in southwest Germany. He was dubbed the Black Forest Rambo.
On July 12, 2020, four police officers found Rausch wearing camouflage gear in the hut he was illegally using in The Black Forest. He was initially cooperative but when the cops asked him to leave the hut, he used a pistol to disarm them and fled to the forest.
On the first day of the search, up to 440 officials, including specialist personnel, used helicopters, thermal detectors and sniffer dogs to search the rough and steep forest area in the Ortenau district in the west of Baden-Württemberg and secured Oppenau. On the fifth day, a total of 1,500 officers were deployed.
Prior to the manhunt, a two-page ranger manifesto titled “The Call of the Wild” was left in a restaurant in Oppenau. Arguing that people who live close to nature are superior to modern, urban society, the document was rumored to be written by Rausch but it turned out to be written a different man from North Rhine-Westphalia in 2005.
When the authorities were looking for Rausch, he was described as a bald man with a goatee wearing glasses and camouflage pattern outerwear. Here are 13 facts about him:
- He is 5’7″ tall.
- In 2004, he changed the sign of a youth welfare organization by removing and adding letters so that the inscription contained the words “Jews away.” He was charged with sedition and the use of anti-constitutional symbols.
- In 2009, he seriously injured a former girlfriend by shooting her with a sports crossbow.
- In 2010, he was prohibited from possessing weapons and ammunition and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
- In 2018, his father died.
- In 2019, he set up a shooting range in the attic of an apartment he rented above a local inn. While staying in the apartment, he was working at the railway in Offenburg, Baden-Württemberg. He usually wore black clothes, according to his landlord. That year, police found child pornography on his mobile phone while investigating him for possession of explosives.
- Since the fall of 2019, he had no permanent residence.
- After being behind with the rent for at least 10 months, he was evicted from the apartment by his landlord in December 2019. He stayed at an aunt’s home before breaking into a hut on the edge of The Black Forest, which he illegally used as his home.
- On July 8, 2020, he had coffee with his mother at a local market. His mother described him as a loner and a woodsman who wanted to escape into nature to be free. He grew his own vegetables in The Black Forest and carved wooden gnomes which he planned to sell, according to his mother.
- On July 17, 2020, the authorities caught him in The Black Forest. When he was photographed for his mugshot, he was wearing a T-shirt bearing the logo of the Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum. He had a passion for guns but he was never in a rifle club. A bow, arrows and ammunition were found in the hut he was illegally using in The Black Forest.
- At the start of his trial on January 15, 2021, his lawyer read out a statement from him in which he admitted to making off with the officers’ weapons. However, he claimed that he had meant no harm and merely feared arrest.
- In February 2021, the regional court in the south-western city of Offenburg convicted him of illegal weapons possession, resisting arrest, grievous bodily harm and hostage taking. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
- He was 32 years old when he was convicted of illegal weapons possession, resisting arrest, grievous bodily harm and hostage taking in February 2021.