Prosecutors said that a former nurse in Germany may have murdered 100 or more people between two hospitals he worked at following the return of toxicology tests.
Detectives believe that Niels Hoegel systemically administered doses of a heart medication that proved fatal in people under his care. Hoegel is already serving a sentence of life for two murders.
Prosecutors said Hoegel administered the medication so he could resuscitate the patients and impress his colleagues, but many of the patients died.
It is expected that more charges will be filed against him in early 2018. Hoegel is believed to have killed 38 of his patients while working at Oldenburg and 62 while at Delmenhorst, both are located in northern Germany. The killings took place from 1999 to 2005.
Investigators said he may have killed others but the bodies of those potential victims were cremated.
If he is found guilty for each of the deaths, he would become one of the worst serial killers in Germany since World War II ended.
The current investigations involving Hoegel were increased to include other possible victims after he admitted to killing as many as 30 patients during his trial in 2015, when he was found guilty of two murders as well as two attempted murders and the harming of patients.
In their investigations, prosecutors had 130 former patients exhumed as they looked for traces of medication that would shut down the patient’s cardiovascular system. Investigators perused records in the hospitals in which he worked.
Records at Oldenburg clinic showed the rates of resuscitations and deaths increased when Hoegel was working, said a report from Spiegel magazine.
However, he also received good references and continued working at a Delmenhorst hospital where an unusual number of patients started dying during his shifts.
One shift a nurse saw one of her patients that had been stable previously develop an irregular heartbeat. At the time, she saw Hoegel in the room when the patient required resuscitation and found empty containers of medication in the trash.
During his 2015 trial, Hoegel said he was sorry and hoped the families of the victims would find some peace. He added that the decisions to inject his victims with the medication were quite spontaneous.
He said that each time one of the patients died, he resolved that he never would do it again, but that determination slowly faded.