I have been weirdly excited for September 12 for months now, because this case has absolutely shocked and baffled me for so long. I learned about it on Reddit, and actually got most of my information from the very Reddit thread that captured my interest so very much.
So as the quick recap - Mateusz Kawecki was a 30 year old Polish man who worked in Hanover Germany. He was expecting a baby with his long-distance fiancee who lived in northwestern Poland. On his way there, he makes a series of strange calls. And then, he never arrives.
I don't want to spoil anything else yet, so let's jump into it.
MATEUSZ KAWECKI DISAPPEARS
Mateusz was from a small village called Hutkow in southeastern Poland, but he worked in Hanover, Germany as a construction worker. He lived with his father, who also worked in the Hanover area.
He was engaged to a Polish woman who lived in a small village called Lipia Gora in northeastern Poland. I did a quick Google Maps search, and the villages are somewhere between 6 and a half and 7 hours apart by car. He and his fiancee were expecting a baby, and she called him to let him know it was about time.
And so on March 28, 2018, Mateusz hopped into his 1998 BMW to head toward Lipia Gora to witness the birth of his first child at about 11:30 PM. He was due to arrive early the next morning. But he didn't.
According to his father, he called Mateusz at around 10:30 AM the following morning, and his son told him that he had hit some terrible traffic on the way, and he had sat in hours of traffic to to accidents. He said he was on the Polish-German border at that time, with over 100 miles still to go at 10:30. (If he left at 11:30, and it was a 7 hour drive, he would have been due to arrive at around 6:30 AM. Even if he sat in 4 hours of traffic he should have been there by 10:30. But he wasn't, and he still had around 2 hours left.)
Around that time, he also sent a text message to his fiancee to let her know he'd be there in around 2 hours. This was the last communication anyone had with him.
His fiancee became increasingly worried throughout the day when he didn't arrive. At around 5pm, extremely concerned at this point, she contacted his sister, but nobody was able to get through to Mateusz. His mother went to the police that night, but they discouraged her from filing a report, as they believed he would still turn up.
But despite the discouragement, they reported him missing in both Germany and Poland, because the last time they heard from him he was right on the border, but there were some bureaucratic issues with the dual-investigation. For instance, the family had asked for the police to locate his cell phone, but because he was using a German sim card, but they believed he technically disappeared in Poland, they never got a straight answer.
The family was, reasonably, frustrated with the police and began their own investigation. They checked the entire route, they went on side streets, they checked with gas station staff, checking for surveillance video. They posted flyers with his image, asking if anyone had seen him. But for 6 months, they found nothing. He, and his car, had disappeared into thin air... and the police didn't seem to care.
A SURPRISING DISCOVERY
On September 12, 2018, a neighbor came to Mateusz's mom to ask about the family's barn, as it began to start smelling back in July and it was becoming a real problem. They believed that perhaps an animal had died in the barn, but they couldn't find it.
The neighbor, helpful but also tired of the stench, asked if his mother would check below the barn's roof, as the walled off barn created something of an attic at the top of the barn. She agreed and climbed up, but what she found horrified her: a pile of clothes... underneath of which was a dead human body. A severed head and a torso. She also found 2 nooses hanging from the roof and a backpack on the floor.
She believed it was her son, but he had been too decomposed to be ID'd immediately. And why would he be there? He wasn't headed for that house. In fact, it was almost a 400 mile trip between his fiancee's village and his mother's home. It would have been extremely far out of his way.
But despite the fact that the body found had his head severed, the police ruled the cause of death to be a suicide. They handed all of his items back over to the family, satisfied with their clearly shitty conclusion.
But things got weirder. 4 days after his body was found, his family found his shoe with his detached foot still inside of it. The police obviously did not do a great job of investigating the area the body was found in if they missed an entire foot. Also found in the barn were some of his teeth knocked out and stuck to his clothes by blood. While it is possible for a head to detach after being hung for a long period of time, it would be pretty odd for his teeth to get knocked out post mortem. It certainly stinks of foul play enough that it should have been investigated as such.
Inside of the backpack was a water bottle with cigarettes inside, and an orange juice carton. His family claimed that he never drank orange juice because hd didn't like it. But the police did not do any analysis of his items.
But the biggest mystery still remains: His car. It has never been found. It wasn't found in Poland, or in Germany, or anywhere. The keys and vehicle registration never turned up. Additionally, the window where he supposedly hung himself was in full view from the ground of his parent's house. It would have been very unlikely that he was hanging there for long enough for his head to sever itself and nobody ever saw it. But the police maintained that it was a suicide, and have refused to investigate the death further.
Another odd aspect is that his parent's village was really small. People from the area thing it would be weird if Mateusz was walking around in the village and went unnoticed by everyone. At the same time, it also would have been difficult for a stranger who had killed and staged his suicide to go around unseen, as well, and get a fairly well-built man into the attic of his barn without being detected.
SO WHAT ON EARTH HAPPENED?
The bottom line is, no one really knows. The case is also not super well-known, and the vast majority of the coverage is in Polish. So I'm just going to focus on some major questions or thoughts Reddit users have about the case.
One of the major ones is the traffic he was supposedly in. It leads one to believe that perhaps he was involved in something else, and he used the traffic as an excuse to his father. As I mentioned earlier, even if he was in a 2 hour traffic jam, he still should have been there by 10:30 if he left at 11:30 the previous evening. It certainly makes one think that something other than just driving to the birth of his child was happening. The timing is a really big hesitation point for many. At the time he called his father, he may have been close to the barn. The timeline driving to his fiancee doesn't line up.
At the same time, if he committed suicide, where on earth was his car? If he parked the car somewhere and walked, it would have been found. The fact that the car was never found leads me back to foul play. One user suggests that he crashed his car on his drive in attempt to commit suicide, but when he failed, he took public transportation to his parent's house to end it. A car accident would also explain the blood and teeth.
However, another user says that traveling on a bus or train with injuries so bad that your teeth are falling out would be extremely improbable. Someone certainly would have noticed him. And additionally, even if the car was crashed (lest he drove it into water), you would have to imagine it still would have been found?
Foul play is, of course, a consideration, but it still just doesn't make a ton of sense if he was driving straight through to his fiancee. Perhaps he stopped for gas or a snack and met someone with ill intentions? When his father called, he made an excuse for his tardiness, he was killed, and then disposed of. But this theory has an extremely improbable element: he was on his way to his fiancee when he was met with foul play, and then instead of just disposing of the body there, a random stranger drove him hundreds of miles in the other direction and staged his suicide in his mother's barn? That's the world's most dedicated opportunistic killer I've ever heard of.
One user thinks that he may have left his car somewhere in the area with the keys inside, and it was stolen. The person who stole it may have not wanted to out themselves as a thief, and since the police never looked into it, they wouldn't have had much incentive to turn themselves in.
Another theory is that the child was not his. This leads down 2 separate outcome paths. The first, I think, is super unlikely, but still worth mentioning. A user suggests that the actual father of the baby wanted Mateusz out of the picture, and he killed him. Now, there are a lot of things that make this super unlikely. First, how would he have stopped him while on a cross-country drive to kill him? Why would he drive hundreds of miles away to hide his body while his baby was being born? But more than that, his fiancee called and texted him, and called his sister when he didn't show up. If she knew he wasn't the father, and neither he or the baby's actual father were anywhere to be found, her behavior doesn't make sense.
The other, more likely, implication of the child not being his is that he was driven to commit suicide. He used a 7 hour drive to distract everyone, as they wouldn't want to know where he was for hours. He was overwhelmed with the feeling of his fiancee giving birth to another man's baby and decided to end his life. (This could also make sense if it was his baby, and the idea of being a father to a baby he lived 7 hours away from got to him.)
I think the case needs investigated further, for sure. There are too many weird elements to feel so comfortable officially calling the death a suicide with no investigation. However, I will place myself tentatively in the suicide column. It makes absolutely no sense why someone would kill him (or how someone would kill him) while on a cross-country drive to the birth of his child, and then drive hundreds of miles in the opposite direction to lug an adult man's body into the attic of his parent's barn and stage his suicide.
The smell had been noticed in July, and the temperature in Hutkow in the months of March through June would still be cold, starting to rise in the latter months. His body could have been there the whole time, but the beating July sun was the first indication of the smell. If he was killed, there's no way it was a random encounter - it would have been someone who knew him, someone hellbent on revenge to go through such work to kill him and stage his body. But it just doesn't seem likely that a 7 hour drive would be the perfect opportunity to murder someone. And his call to his father hours after he should have arrived tell me that he was never heading in that direction.
Another forgotten element is the detached foot in his shoe found on the floor of the barn. The severed head, the knocked out teeth, the severed foot... they all reek of foul play for sure. But his body had been decaying for months. A bird or rat or something could have started working on his body, and his foot could have come off naturally. If someone was staging his suicide, why would they cut off his foot?
I'll include one more theory that I like, but still don't think it is likely. One user said that they thought that maybe he and a relative, perhaps a brother, got into a fight at his parent's house and he killed him before he even left for his fiancee's. They acted like he was missing so he didn't get charged, but finally the complaining neighbors drove them to "finding the body". Is this likely? No. But it is kind of weird that the neighbors had been dealing with a horrible smell for months and the mother and family never noticed it. Right? (But the family is one of the biggest proponents for further investigation, so I don't think they did it.)
The police's reluctance to investigate, the extreme trauma to the body, and the missing car are all super weird, for sure. But I think here, the simplest scenario is the most likely: He committed suicide. The barn at his parents house may not have had any significance to him, but it would have more significance to him than some random murderer he ran into on the highway. I think something happened, and he decided to utilize the hours he would be assumed to be driving to his fiancee to make a plan to end his life. And that's what he did. His body being found months later could explain a lot of the odd physical evidence.
This case is too weird and I don't like it. Because every piece of actual physical evidence points to foul play, and every logistical and timing thing points to suicide. I lean towards suicide because I can explain away some of the physical things if it was suicide, but I can't explain the logistical things if it was homicide. One just makes a little more sense than the other.
But beyond the mystery, a family lost their son and brother. A fiancee left her lover and was left to give birth and raise a child without the child's father. It is really sad. And even though the case is insane and admittedly very interesting to speculate on, at its core, a really loved guy died. And I hope, whatever happened to him on earth, he is resting somewhere peacefully.