Aref Ismaili (True Crime)

April 4, 2016 (Monday)

City Park, Wanfried, Hesse, Germany


Aref Ismaili

Nickname: Unknown
Alternative Name: Unknown


Missing from: Wanfried, Hesse, Germany
Date Missing: April 4, 2016 (Monday)
Taken By: Unknown ➔ Suspects are Male (60-70 years old), Caucasian, with grey and white curly hair and a distinctive nose driving a Black BMW SUV accompanied by a Caucasian female, thin build, long blonde hair, (30 – 40 years old) between 4′ 11″ and 5′ 4″ (1.5 – 1.6m) tall.

Circumstances: Aref, a four-year-old child refugee from Afghanistan, was living with his parents and three siblines in a refugee shelter in Wanfried, Germany. He was a friendly child who often played at a small city park along the Werra River near the shelter.

Aref Ismaili (4yr) with Family

On April 4, the siblings were playing at the park, and Aref was playing on his tricycle in the direction of the river. Approximately 6:30pm (18:30), his mother (Mozhda Ismaili) looked but Aref had vanished. His mother suspected he had simply gone back to the shelter as he sometimes would make the trip alone. He was very independent and would occasionally ride ahead of the family.

Upon arriving back, his mother found that Aref had not come home either and called the police around 8:30pm (20:30). Initial conclusions were that Aref had accidentally drowned in the Werra River. However searches turned up nothing, and police now believe this assumption was mistaken.

Later people reported that a mysterious black SUV (BMW X3 or X5) with Berlin plates had been driving through the area (including near the park) that day and had been parked at the refugee shelter earlier. In the car were two suspects:

  • Male, Caucasian, 60-70 yr, curly white hair (bald on top), distinctive hooked nose
  • Female, Caucasian, 30-40 yr, dark blonde hair to her buttocks, thin, short (4’11” – 5’4″). She was dressed in leggings and a skirt.

One witness reported seeing a child fitting Aref’s description with an older man in Berlin (250mi away), but this report is unconfirmed.

Key Descriptors

  • Date of Birth: August 14, 2011
  • Age at Disappearance: 4 and a half years old
  • Ethnicity: Middle Eastern
  • Nationality: Afghani
  • Gender at Birth: Male
  • Hair: Black, Curly
  • Eye Color: Black
  • Height: 3′ 3″ (1m)
  • Weight:

Distinguishing Marks or Factors

  • Unknown


  • Green Shirt
  • Dark Trousers

If You or Anyone You Know Has Information About The Disappearances, Please Contact the Eschwege Police Department
at (+49) 05651-9250


  • F.R.E.D.I. (2016) ‘Aref Ismaili’, Foundation pour la Recherche d’Enfants Disparus, International. Available from Link.
  • Focus (2016) ‘Hoffnung auf neue Hinweise: Polizei sucht nach Berliner Fahrzeug’, 22 April. Available from: Link
  • RTL Hessen (2018) ‘5-jähriger Aref aus Wanfried vermisst’, 21 March. Available from: Link
  • BZ Berlin (2016) ‘Fünfjähriger vermisst – BMW mit Berliner Kennzeichen gesucht’, 22 April. Available from: Link
  • Focus (2016) ‘Suche nach Aref geht weiter – Ermittler hoffen auf Aktenzeichen XY’, 11 June. Available from: Link
  • HNA (2016) ‘Wurde vermisster Aref entführt? Polizei folgt jetzt zwei Hinweisen’, 30 June. Available from: Link
  • u/444jojo555 (2018) ‘Aref, 5, disappeared from a playground in a small German town in April 2016 and hasn’t been seen since’ in “r/Unsolved Mysteries” under Available from: Link
  • Wüstenberg, D. (2017) ‘Seit 16 Monaten verschwunden: Wo ist der kleine Aref?’, Stern, 1 August. Available from: Link
  • Seher, D. (2019) ‘Die Liste der vermissten Teenager ist lang’, t-online, 9 March. Available from: Link
  • Frankfurter Neue Presse (2016) ‘Neue Hoffnung auch im Fall des verschwundenen Aref’, FNP, 1 July. Available from: Link
  • Bild (2018) ‘Aref Ismaili (7) aus Wanfried’, 23 August. Available from: Link

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