Other findings I.
Within a couple of hours after the accident, the members of the VB began to collect all available data on the arrestee and a large scale investigation began. Maybe too large, but we have to remember that, due to the extraordinary nature of the crime, there was a high suspicion of a possible political motive, so the investigators’ primary task was to either confirm or disprove this suspicion. Almost immediately after the first questioning of the arrestee (or actually even during it), the investigators began to question the members of Hepnarová’s family as well. One by one, they examined her father, sister, and also her mother (who was then on a holiday in Zábrodí, so the first, preliminary questioning of her took place at the OO VB office in Náchod). The investigators also sent written requests for reviews on Hepnarová to all six employers which she worked for in the past, and also requests for the so called “reputation reports” in the places where she had her temporary and permanent address. Further interrogations of her colleagues, neighbors from Oleško and Prague, roommates, and friends were planned, and the majority of the already collected data was continuously verified.
Still on the same day, during the evening, both Hepnarová’s father and sister appeared at the OV VB office in Prague – City. First, beginning from 19:00, the investigators began to question the father Antonín Hepnar, who, however, was very brief in his statements about his daughter. He mentioned that there were certain problems in the family as he didn’t get along very well with Olga because of her specific nature and very stubborn behavior, which, in the end, caused many conflicts between them and which also made him terminate his contact with her almost permanently. Olga herself would visit the home only sparsely – usually once in a month and at the time when he wasn’t there. According to his words, if she had ever experienced some problems, he would expect her to discuss it with her mother, but even here he was somewhat skeptical – mainly because of her vastly introverted nature. Regarding her childhood, he mentioned that, sometime around the 8th grade, she began to experience some difficulties with her school attendance. It was revealed that she skipped the school for a week or so, so when her mother learned about it, she (somewhat demonstratively) told them that she won’t be attending the school anymore. When the father heard her saying that, he gave her a very intense beating and literally made her to go to the school with him, but to no avail, as she once again stated that she won’t be going to school, whatever happens. And so they, after consulting the whole situation with the school personnel, decided to place her in the Children’s home (!) in Opařany in the Táborsko region, where she later finished her elementary school attendance. When she returned back home, she began to attend a four year study for a bookbinder in the TOMOS Company in Prague. During these four years, they allegedly hadn’t experienced any significant problems with her. Upon finishing her studies, she then began to work in Cheb as a bookbinder, and stayed there for about a year. The father didn’t have any knowledge as to whether she was doing her working duties properly or not as he hadn’t been in touch with any of her employers and in fact suspected that she hadn’t showed up at home even once during her stay in Cheb. He also didn’t send her any money, as he thought his wife would do that, but couldn’t specify the exact amount. In his view, she must’ve behaved pretty orderly while in Cheb as her landlady would definitely let them know if something was up. Why she finally left Cheb, he didn’t know. Perhaps she didn’t quite like it there. After returning to Prague, she began to work in some communications’ company as a driver, and as far as he remembers, there weren’t any complaints on her from her employer. While living at home, she didn’t attend any parties, but only cinemas or theatres. Later, she bought herself a small cottage, which she let to dismantle and then rebuild in Oleško, where she stayed permanently and where she also commuted to her work from. Part of the money which she paid for the cottage she received from her mother. In the present year, she sold it and bought herself a Trabant vehicle for the received money. How much money she exactly got for that cottage or whom she sold it, he didn’t know. Further, he also stated that his daughter didn’t indulge in alcohol, even though it’s true that she used to smoke. But still, he didn’t remember her returning home drunken or smelling an alcohol from her breath even once. He also wasn’t aware of her stealing anything from home, like money or alcoholic beverages, and didn’t know of any pills which she could possibly take. His wife also didn’t mention anything. Apart from the usual, children’s diseases like measles or simple cold, his daughter didn’t overcome any other ailments, wasn’t hospitalized in any hospital, and didn’t complain of any headache or something similar. In the very end, he stated that he didn’t have any knowledge of how good or bad her current work ethic was as he hadn’t visited or asked her current employer even once, but it did surprise him a lot when he found out about her recent absences as he wouldn’t normally expect such things from her. According to him, she and her already married sister practically weren’t in contact, and neither of them was particularly keen to see the other.
Sister Eva was even briefer during her testimony – which more or less echoed what their father had already said about the relationship between his daughters. She stated that there maybe weren’t any substantial conflicts between them, but also any closer relationship. They did get along fairly well, but at the same time didn’t share any common interests or friends. According to her, the atmosphere in the family wasn’t particularly healthy. The parents often argued between themselves, which was largely due to the mother’s rather dominant position in the family. Living with them in the flat was also the grandmother (father’s mother), which often caused many disputes – both between the parents or between the mother and the grandmother. Nevertheless, as Eva attested, her sister always treated her parents with respect. The frequent arguments in the family, however, caused her to contemplate about leaving, so to set herself free from the family, she later purchased a small cottage where she planned to live on her own. As far as Eva remembered, no one has ever done anything wrong to Olga, but she also admitted that the mother’s decision to send her to Opařany may have left some mental scars on her. During the course of the 8th grade, Olga began to skip the school and gradually disliked her school attendance. The situation slowly but surely became unbearable, so the mother eventually decided to place her in some facility, where she stayed for cca one year. Eva didn’t know if it was just a casual hostel for youth or actually a psychiatric hospital, but according to her, Olga’s stay in Opařany affected her badly in a negative way, as she began to smoke and also learned how to use some vulgar and rude words there. Further, the sister stated that, in her relationship with the other family members, Olga was rather shy and introverted, talking mainly to her mother, who was usually the one who would look after her. As for her sister’s health status, Eva declined to comment. She also mentioned that, after finishing the studies, Olga began to work outside Prague and later moved to Oleško to live in a cottage. Since then, the two would meet each other purely by chance.
Since Olga’s mother MUDr. Anna Hepnarová was currently on a holiday at the family estate in Zábrodí, the first questioning of her took place at the OO VB office in Náchod. It was very brief, as she had to answer only a couple of questions which the VB members in Náchod received from the investigators in Prague. According to her, the relationships in the family, both between her and her husband and also her children, were very good. She also wasn’t aware of anything bad which her daughter may’ve done in the past. Olga currently lived in a boarding house, but she couldn’t confirm if she had a boyfriend or not. Despite not knowing much about her current friends, she was convinced that her daughter hadn’t been associated with any bad company. She also stated that one of the main traits of Olga’s character was her rather excessive introversion and reticence. She didn’t attend any parties or even dance lessons, as her hobbies were mainly reading and driving. Regarding Olga’s health status, she viewed it as very good, last but not least because she worked as a professional driver and as such had to pass a thorough medical check-up before commencing her job. As a child she didn’t overcome any serious illness, only in the recent time she had suffered from an insomnia, which, however was only a slight and temporary form. Hence, she prescribed her some sleeping pills, warning her that she shouldn’t take it daily and before driving. She knew her daughter as a very orderly girl, and therefore was convinced that she must’ve followed these advices properly. As a professional driver, she worked for three years, and during that time, she hadn’t caused any accident, even though two years ago she collided with some drunk and injured him, but as was later revealed, the whole accident wasn’t her fault and she was proven innocent. Further, she mentioned that from mid June, her daughter was on a holiday in Slovakia. In the end, she again reiterated that she always considered Olga as thoroughly healthy, and categorically ruled out any notions of her being a drug addict.
Two days later, MUDr. Anna Hepnarová (who in the meantime broke off her holiday and returned to Prague) had been questioned by the Prague criminalists. In the beginning, she once again affirmed that her daughter wasn’t seriously ill in the past even once, didn’t suffer any serious trauma and also wasn’t ill “mentally”. She then stated that Olga began to attend the elementary school as usual (i.e. in her 6th year of age) and continued to do so without any difficulties till the 7th grade. Up until then, her results were very good, but during the course of the 7th grade, she and her form teacher experienced some misunderstandings, which eventually led to her being totally uncommunicative and which also prompted the school authorities to relocate her to a different class. The new schoolmates, however, didn’t receive her very well, and she began to skip the school. The problems then escalated in the 8th grade, when she was still attending the same school (author’s note: in the Uhelný trh street). The mother pleaded her numerous times to redeem herself, but to no avail, so in the end, she decided to take her to the hospital Pod Petřínem, where she was checked in a regular pediatric unit by a female psychiatrist (who was frequently visiting it). The psychiatrist concluded that there wasn’t anything wrong with Olga, and categorically ruled out any traces of psychopathy. She also recommended the mother to move her to a different school (author’s note: in the Ostrovní street), but since the same problems resurfaced, the mother visited the psychiatrist again, and this time, she recommended her to send Olga to a psychiatric clinic Ke Karlovu, where she would eventually spend circa one month. During her stay there, Olga twice managed to escape, which prompted the clinic’s chief doctor to send her to a psychiatric hospital in Opařany, where she would be placed in a special unit for children who were difficult to handle (instead of being put among psychopaths). Shortly before her departure to Opařany, her mother also tried to send her to her relatives in České Budějovice, however, this attempt once again failed, as she attended the classes only twice there and also had to deal with her recurring problems with the morning vomiting. Olga herself proclaimed that she’d be willing to go to some “youth detention center”, and therefore had been sent to Opařany, where she finished the 8th grade of her elementary studies. After the summer holidays, she again began to attend one of the elementary schools in Prague (author’s note: in the Truhlářská street), but since she couldn’t stop with her truancy, she was once again sent to the aforementioned special psychiatric unit in Opařany, where she finally finished her elementary school attendance (and where she was often visited by her parents, mainly her mother). Further, the mother stated that, after returning back home, her daughter began to study for a bookbinder in the TOMOS Company in Prague 4, which was a time when she allegedly hadn’t experienced any major problems with her. She also briefly mentioned Olga’s stay in Cheb, her return to Prague, obtaining of her driving licence, and also her work in the Communications’ Company (or, to be exact, City Traffic Company of Posts and Telecommunications) and Prague Communications. As for her daughter’s nature, she described her as a rather quiet, introverted, and clearly unsociable girl whose biggest hobbies were the books and driving. Occasionally, she would visit a cinema, theatre, or some concert, but she would never search for any company, even though she’d been friends with some girls here and there. But to enter a greater company (like during the parties, or dance), that was clearly not for her. Why it was like that, she didn’t know – simply because she didn’t really want to ask her about that. Regarding Olga’s sexual life, she again viewed her as a thoroughly normal girl, without any evident abnormality (or deviation). When asked by the investigator how Olga treated the other members of the family, people in general, and how she viewed the entire human society and the life itself, she said that her younger daughter often exhibited mood swings, i.e. sometimes she behaved good (helping with the dishes, cooking, cleaning, etc.) and sometimes she was acting rather dismissive (claiming she doesn’t want anything from anybody, including her family), but when she got her good temper back, she, more often than not, would reach out to her and beg her for forgiveness. As for the second part of the question, she couldn’t mention anything concrete, as she hadn’t touched on this specific topic with her daughter even once. She merely stated that she found it rather unusual that her daughter often enjoyed reading books about psychology and psychiatry, either buying it or borrowing it in a library (sometimes even in the hospital library, via her card). Apart from reading this scientific literature, she usually read books which were quite difficult to comprehend (antique literature, Bible, Freud, etc.), further distinguishing herself from her peers. The mother then categorically denied any possible bullying of Olga in her family, and also couldn’t remember of any case of her being bullied, despised, or belittled by other people as well. According to her, most people viewed Olga as a nice young girl. Recently, her daughter reminded her a couple of times of her stay in Opařany, feeling quite sad about this experience and blaming it on her, so she tried to explain her the reasons that led her to make this decision, and, according to her impression, she understood it. She then categorically denied any possibility of her daughter drinking alcoholic beverages or taking sedatives or narcotics. According to her, she last saw her daughter on Friday when she visited her in her ambulance, but didn’t notice anything unusual on her (during this visit, the mother prescribed Olga a sleeping pill Dormiphen, gave her some money and also a dissected human skull fitted with pulled human teeth; originally, Olga bought this skull from one medical student and then placed it behind the rear window of her Trabant vehicle, fitting its eye sockets with light bulbs so that they would function as blinkers; later, she asked her mother to fit the skull with real human teeth). In the end, MUDr. Hepnarová quite detailedly described the whole environment and atmosphere in her family. According to her, the situation in the family was entirely normal, just like the relationships between its respective members. Occasionally, there had been some disputes and conflicts, just like in every other family, but nothing that would’ve had a disturbing impact on Olga. In the very end, MUDr. Hepnarová once again reiterated that her daughter, despite being hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital for several times, had never been diagnosed with any psychiatric or psychological illness, just as she had never been proclaimed a psychopath. So that was about everything what the family members of the arrestee had to say about the whole thing. Their interrogations were prepared very carefully: following a detailed analysis of the ongoing interrogation of Olga Hepnarová, the investigators chose several basic questions which they later posed to each of the family members (the relationships in the family, health status of O.H., her stay in Opařany, the relationships between her and other people, her possible use of alcohol and other addictive substances, her further criminal activity, and a couple of others). The same questions, yet not the same answers. Sometimes similar, but sometimes entirely different. What’s also interesting is the amount of time which both parents had to spend answering the investigators’ questions: the father’s questioning took about one hour, whilst the mother’s lasted almost four hours. This difference was also evident in the amount of data which they both provided the investigators with.
During the course of July 1973, the investigators also received the reviews from Hepnarová’s former employers and also from the people who were in close contact with her – either at her temporary or permanent address. The data collected from these reviews could be summed up in one sentence. That is: we know very little about her. Regarding her stay in the TOMOS Company, they hadn’t had any major issues with her. She passed her apprentice exams with C, and overall was a mediocre apprentice with better results in theoretic classes than in the specialized training. Without any interest in politics or public life, quiet, reticent, introverted, and preferring loneliness over collective. The three companies which Hepnarová worked for in Cheb had more or less the same response: her stay with us lasted too short for us to say anything concrete about her. A very negative review came from the Communications’ Company: she did her job as a driver callously, without any evident initiative and interest. Often, her superiors had to remind her several times to finally make her carry out their orders. Also, she maintained her vehicle rather poorly, and it was evident that this type of work was beyond her capabilities. She was seen as a very strange, introverted character who didn’t have any friends among her colleagues and wasn’t particularly liked either, and who wouldn’t reveal anything about her private life. Her last employer, the Prague Communications, provided a much more positive review: her work ethic was mediocre, and there were no complaints from her colleagues or superiors about the fulfillment of her working duties or her driving discipline. She was remembered as a very quiet, almost tongue-tied, totally uncommunicative type who wouldn’t mingle with anybody on the site and who wouldn’t speak anything about herself or chat with her colleagues and superiors. There were instances, for example during the acquiring of the material for the maintenance of her truck, where she would stand motionless and speechless for minutes, leaving the garage master in charge totally clueless as to what she was asking for. Her neighbors from the street where she had her permanent address stated that, recently, she appeared at home only sporadically. If she had ever showed up, she would just walk down the hallway and enter the flat, staying there and not going outside. She would greet the neighbors as usual, but other than that, she wouldn’t talk to them at all. According to them, they viewed her as an orderly, well-mannered girl. An even more extensive investigation occurred in the place where she had her temporary address – i.e. in the boarding house in Malešice. It was revealed that she had lived there since 11.1.1973. During her stay there, she would meet up exclusively with M.D., ignoring the remaining roommates and not greeting anyone. The chambermaids who were cleaning the local rooms often complained that she had her room in a mess. Eventually, she would keep her room somewhat tidier, but apart from this minor improvement, she would still remain the same, close-lipped girl who wouldn’t talk with anyone.
A further way for the investigators how to obtain some information about Olga Hepnarová was to monitor her through her cellmates. Thanks to their reports, the investigators learned that Hepnarová’s cottage in Oleško also served as a meeting place for the local youth, of whom many (including the arrestee herself) were supposed to inhale various intoxicating agents during these meetings. The arrestee herself once revealed to one of her cellmates that she had allegedly tried to bring herself into a state of bemusement using some anesthetics (author’s note: most likely ether). On another occasion, she stated that she knew one colleague from her work who could procure a phenmetrazine, selling it for Kčs 60.
The aforementioned data was then further verified, as evidenced in the recorded questioning of the neighbors from Oleško. The conclusion from this questioning, however, didn’t suggest that the arrestee had been indeed using alcohol or drugs in the past, as almost all her neighbors categorically ruled out this suspicion. They viewed her as a taciturn, reclusive, strange acting girl – last but not least because she always left the others very suddenly, without uttering one single word. She also earned herself a nickname “sleeping virgin” among her neighbors as she would always walk engrossed in thought, with her head down, and not greeting anyone around her. According to one of the witnesses, there were situations when it was almost impossible to talk with her, as she was having some dreamy, faint-like spells. During one visit of her mother, she was acting almost insane, kicking everything in sight, threatening her mother to kill her, and eventually forcing her to leave the cottage. At times, she was behaving somewhat strangely, forgetting her bike in front of the grocery or hanging out the washing only to let it get completely soaked with rain a minute later, etc. Another witness mentioned that, in Hepnarová’s presence, he had a feeling as if he had been dealing with a mentally ill person, as she was often acting somewhat absent-minded, always leaving without saying anything.
The actual investigation then continued with the questioning of many other witnesses, some of whom contacted the investigators by themselves. In November 1973, they once again called in the father Antonín Hepnar to appear at the MS VB office, but since the paragraph 100 of the criminal code allowed him to reject any further questioning, he chose to exercise it and thus refused to testify against his daughter.
OV VB – Okresní výbor Veřejné bezpečnosti; District Public Security Service Committee
OO VB – Obvodní oddělení Veřejné bezpečnosti; District Public Security Service Headquarters
MS VB – Městská správa Veřejné bezpečnosti; City Public Security Service Headquarters