Ice cream shops are popular and whimsical locations. Who doesn’t treasure sneaking off to the nearest creamery and indulging in a scoop or two of their favorite flavor? Ice cream parlors are nostalgic places that can help even the most stressed-out adult take a deep breath and savor the simpler things in life.
But just because your local ice cream shop makes you feel like a kid doesn’t mean it’s as innocent as your childhood might have been. If you look beyond the freezers and the friendly attendants you might spot something dark lurking beneath the surface. When one ice cream shop in Austria needed a few pipes replaced, the secret they uncovered left them with a deeper chill than any of the icy treats on display could.
The day the pipes burst at Schleckeria, an ice cream shop in downtown Vienna, Austria, no one was surprised. When the shop opened 50 years earlier, it was run by a husband and wife who were happy to make their living selling sweets, but since then, the parlor had become a shadow of its former self.
Now the shop was owned by someone new, a 30-year-old woman named Estibaliz Carranza, and it was in need of some serious renovations. Strangely, while she had a degree in business and knew it was necessary, she didn’t seem that interested in making them. Before the pipes burst and she called repairmen, the shop had not seen any improvements for decades.
When the repairmen arrived, they headed to the basement and quickly began their work. However, it wasn’t long before they noticed something pretty odd: patches of uneven concrete on the basement floor…
The repairmen shrugged it off at first and kept digging, but their shovels hit something metallic. That’s when they knew things weren’t right. They unearthed their find: It was a freezer filled with the disembodied remains of two different human beings.
It didn’t take long for for the police to find the killer. When the repairmen announced their discovery and the police were called, Estibaliz fled the country for Italy. This was all the police needed to have their suspicions confirmed. She was their number one suspect, and was quickly extradited back to Austria.
When she was finally apprehended and back on Austrian ground, the police made another shocking discovery: Estibaliz was three months pregnant. Additionally, she had no intention of hiding a single detail about the crimes she was implicated in.
Estibaliz admitted to both killings and identified the corpses as those of her ex-husband and an ex-boyfriend. She even told police that she expected the repairmen would find the bodies. The media dubbed her Ice Lady, not just because of her connection to the ice cream shop, but because of how cold blooded the murders and dismemberment were.
The police asked her to explain why she killed both men and she answered readily. She killed her ex-husband, Holger Holz, because he was a “lazy slob” who flat-out refused to move out of the apartment above the ice cream shop where they both lived. His refusal, to her way of thinking, left her with no choice other than murder.
Once she made up her mind to end her ex-husband’s life, there was no going back. Around 3 p.m. one afternoon while he was using the computer she approached him quietly from behind and shot him in the back of the head, execution style.
She wanted to get rid of his body immediately, but an employee at the ice cream shop downstairs called her on her cellphone about a problem with a customer. Instead, she waited until late that night to dismember Holger’s body with a chainsaw using the sound of the running ice cream machine to drown out the din.
“I cleaned and cleaned in the days afterwards,” she told the police. But eventually, she gave up her own efforts and hired professional cleaners to take care of the shop. While they did this she went out and got a manicure to restore her nails after all that dirty work.
When Estibaliz struck again it was planned. Though she killed her boyfriend Manfred Hinterberger after a drunken fight about his alleged infidelity, she revealed that she’d been planning the crime for ages, even taking classes in shooting and concrete mixing.
According to Estibaliz, Manfred got in bed after their fight and turned away from her. Almost immediately, he began snoring, and this was the straw that broke her. She got up, shot Manfred in the head, leaving him to die in the bed while she spent the night sleeping soundly on the sofa.
The next morning, she got up, enjoyed a cup of coffee, and dismembered her dead boyfriend’s body the same way she killed her husband. She disposed of him later on in the basement of the ice cream shop.
With her confession given, next came the trial. Petra Frey, the prosecuting attorney, described Estibaliz as a “highly dangerous woman ready to do anything.” She claimed that Estibaliz hid her true nature behind a mask of innocence.
Believe it or not, her own lawyer thought it would be good to put to Estibaliz on the stand! “I can’t say anything other than that I am sorry that I took Holger and Manfred’s lives,” she said.
Estibaliz was ultimately sentenced to life spent in a mental hospital. The doctors there described her state, remarking that she thought of herself as “a princess who wants to be rescued by a prince.”
She found that prince in a man she met while imprisoned, whom she later married at the hospital. She also went on to write a book about her crimes, where she explained that her murders weren’t as cold-blooded as they seemed.
In fact, she claimed that murder was the only way out of two relationships that were very abusive. She claimed that years of abuse at the hands of manipulative men had driven her to murder for fear for her own life.
Astoundingly, not long after the book was published, Estibaliz was moved to an all-male psychiatric prison in Austria. Now 38, she will no doubt spend her nights surrounded by snoring men without a chainsaw in sight.
No matter what explanation she had to give, there’s no denying that this woman is a cold-blooded murderer. Thank goodness the people of Austria (and its ice cream shops) are safe once more.
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