The State Finance Minister of Germany’s Hesse region, which includes Frankfurt, has been found dead.
Authorities said he appears to have killed himself and the State’s Governor suggested on Sunday that he was in despair over the fallout from the Coronavirus crisis.
The body of Thomas Schaefer, a 54-year-old member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, was found Saturday on railway tracks at Hochheim, near Frankfurt.
Police and prosecutors said that factors including questioning of witnesses and their own observations at the scene led them to conclude that Schaefer killed himself.
State Governor Volker Bouffier linked Schaefer’s death to the virus crisis on Sunday.
Bouffier said Schaefer was worried about “whether it would be possible to succeed in fulfilling the population’s huge expectations, particularly of financial help.”
“I have to assume that these worries overwhelmed him,” Bouffier said. “He apparently couldn’t find a way out. He was in despair and left us.”
Germany’s federal and State governments have drawn up huge aid packages to cushion the blow of largely shutting down public life to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Schaefer had been Hesse’s State Finance Minister for a decade.
The Hesse CDU party said in a statement that it was in mourning, adding: “We heard with dismay the news of his sudden and unexpected death. Our thoughts are with his family and relatives.”
Germany has reported 455 deaths and more than 58,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 since the start of the outbreak.
The Online press conference last Wednesday was supposed to be his last.
In the 40 minutes of this unusual switching conference showed Schäfer, however, no signs of overload, striking was the fact that he kneaded his hands. The inner tension was visible. But he was confident.
But no one knew something was up. On the side of the green, Cabinet colleague Tarek Al-Wazir and Hesse’s Christian democratic Finance Minister Thomas Schäfer explained the billion program, which had enabled the Parliament to deal with the Corona-crisis the day before, unanimously, of the “unprecedented challenges,” said Schaefer.