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Isotope Evidence to Link a Suspect with a Pipe Bomb Multimurder in Austria 1995


  • Funded by the National Court for Criminal Actions Graz.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Micha Horacek, Ph.D.
Health and Environment Department
AIT-Austrian Institute of Technology
2444 Seibersdorf


Abstract:  A bomb attempt in Oberwart, Austria, on February 4, 1995, was the culmination of several pipe and letter bomb attempts mainly in Austria. The pipe bomb had been mounted on a self-made gypsum (plaster of Paris) pedestal and exploded when touched, killing four persons. With a level of 200 tritium units (TU), the water extracted from the gypsum pedestal was unusually enriched in tritium (3H) compared to an environmental level of about 20 TU at that time. Investigation of the 3H content of air moisture in the living room of an arrested suspect showed values of about 1000 TU (normally, 50 TU is not exceeded). Additionally, water used as sealing liquid in a glass with nitroglycerine found in the living room was also significantly enriched in 3H (>400 TU). The living room therefore offered the high 3H level environment necessary to lead to elevated 3H concentrations in the gypsum pedestal.