Body of 9-year-old girl who disappeared 15 years ago found in German forest

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Peggy Knobloch Went Missing in 2001; Have Police Found Her Remains?

A German mushroom forager reportedly found remains that could be those of a 9-year-old girl who went missing 15 years ago.

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The Bavarian prosecutor told the BBC the man found bones that "most probably" belong to Peggy Knobloch.

Knobloch went missing when she didn't come home from school in May 2001. Hundreds of law enforcement officers searched for the girl for weeks, even extending their search into the Czech Republic and Turkey.

The remains believed to be Knobloch's were reportedly found less than 10 miles away from her home.

Photos from the case:

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Body of Peggy Knobloch, 9, found in 15 year old cold case
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Body of Peggy Knobloch, 9, found in 15 year old cold case
Picture taken on January 8, 2014 at the cemetery in Nordhalben near Kronach, southern Germany, shows the portrait of alleged murder victim Peggy Knobloch on a memorial stone. A grave on the cemetery of Lichtenberg situated nearby the house where she used to live was opened on January 8, 2014 in connection with the case that is one of the country's most mysterious. The police thought to find in the grave the body of Peggy Knobloch, who had disappeared aged nine in May 2001, but 'with the utmost probability', only the remainings of an adult person were found. AFP PHOTO / JENS-ULRICH KOCH (Photo credit should read JENS-ULRICH KOCH/AFP/Getty Images)
Picture taken on January 8, 2014 at the cemetery in Nordhalben near Kronach, southern Germany, shows the portrait of alleged murder victim Peggy Knobloch on a memorial stone. A grave on the cemetery of Lichtenberg situated nearby the house where she used to live was opened on January 8, 2014 in connection with the case that is one of the country's most mysterious. The police thought to find in the grave the body of Peggy Knobloch, who had disappeared aged nine in May 2001, but 'with the utmost probability', only the remainings of an adult person were found. AFP PHOTO / JENS-ULRICH KOCH (Photo credit should read JENS-ULRICH KOCH/AFP/Getty Images)
A cameraman films on January 8, 2014 in Lichtenberg near Hof, southern Germany, the back entrance of the house where used to live murder victim Peggy, who was nine years old when she disappeared in May 2001. A grave on the cemetery situated nearby was opened in connection with the murder case that is one of the country's most mysterious. The police thought to find in the grave the body of Peggy Knobloch, who had disappeared in May 2001, but 'with the utmost probability', only the remainings of an adult person were found. AFP PHOTO / JENS-ULRICH KOCH (Photo credit should read JENS-ULRICH KOCH/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman stands in front of a grave that was opened on January 8, 2014 in connection with the case of a girl missed since the year 2001 at the cemetery of Lichtenberg near Hof, southern Germany. The police thought to find in the grave the body of Peggy Knobloch, who had disappeared in May 2001, but 'with the utmost probability', only the remainings of an adult person were found. AFP PHOTO / JENS-ULRICH KOCH (Photo credit should read JENS-ULRICH KOCH/AFP/Getty Images)
A memorial stone reading 'Rest in Peace' lays on a grave that was opened on January 8, 2014 in connection with the case of a girl missed since the year 2001 at the cemetery of Lichtenberg near Hof, southern Germany. The police thought to find in the grave the body of Peggy Knobloch, who had disappeared in May 2001, but 'with the utmost probability', only the remainings of an adult person were found. AFP PHOTO / JENS-ULRICH KOCH (Photo credit should read JENS-ULRICH KOCH/AFP/Getty Images)
A wooden cross stands on the cemetery of Lichtenberg near Hof, southern Germany, where a grave was opened on January 8, 2014 in connection with the case of a girl missed since the year 2001. The police thought to find in the grave the body of Peggy Knobloch, who had disappeared in May 2001, but 'with the utmost probability', only the remainings of an adult person were found. AFP PHOTO / JENS-ULRICH KOCH (Photo credit should read JENS-ULRICH KOCH/AFP/Getty Images)
A grave (R) that was opened on January 8, 2014 in connection with the case of a girl missed since the year 2001 is seen at the cemetery of Lichtenberg near Hof, southern Germany. The police thought to find in the grave the body of Peggy Knobloch, who had disappeared in May 2001, but 'with the utmost probability', only the remainings of an adult person were found. AFP PHOTO / JENS-ULRICH KOCH (Photo credit should read JENS-ULRICH KOCH/AFP/Getty Images)
A cameraman films the cemetery of Lichtenberg near Hof, southern Germany, where a grave was opened on January 8, 2014 in connection with the case of a girl missed since the year 2001. The police thought to find in the grave the body of Peggy Knobloch, who had disappeared in May 2001, but 'with the utmost probability', only the remainings of an adult person were found. AFP PHOTO / JENS-ULRICH KOCH (Photo credit should read JENS-ULRICH KOCH/AFP/Getty Images)
Ulvi K., the 25-year-old accused of murdering nine-year-old Peggy Knobloch enters a courtroom before the start of his trial in the Bavarian town of Hof October 7, 2003. Police have so far failed to uncover any trace of Peggy, who disappeared in May 2001. State prosecutors suspect the accused may have killed Peggy to cover up a sexual assault. REUTERS/Alexandra Winkler AX/JOH/CRB
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According to The Telegraph, Knobloch's mother was able to identify a piece of jewelry found near the remains — a watch the little girl was wearing the day she disappeared.

This recent development is probably one of the first since a man accused of her murder was released from prison. That man, who had a learning disability, confessed to killing the girl but later withdrew his confession.

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Authorities initially believed the man had killed Knobloch to hide the fact he'd sexually abused her. It was later found that he'd been questioned more than 40 times without a lawyer present and only confessed while under duress. He spent a decade in prison before his release.

Investigators plan to perform DNA tests on the remains before saying definitively they are Knobloch's.

Knobloch had been dubbed the German Madeleine McCann, likening Knobloch's case to that of an English girl who went missing while she was with her parents in Portugal. McCann's remains were never found.

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