In Fall 2019, several children go missing from Winden. Lamp posts are covered in missing person posters. Police investigations lead nowhere. People are understandably upset.
Erik Obendorf was last seen on October 22nd. Mikkel Nielsen, the youngest son of policeman Ulrich Nielsen, went missing on November 4th. Just three days later a deaf boy, Yasin Friese, is reported missing. Winden still remembers Mads Nielsen, the boy who vanished in 1986.
Bodies in the forest
On the day Mikkel goes missing, police find the body of a young boy in the forest, but it isn't any of the current missing children. His eyes are burnt, he's wearing a penny from 1986 around his neck, and he's carrying an old walkman. Nearby, Mikkel's grandmother Jana Nielsen finds the wrapper of a Raider chocolate bar.
Ulrich Nielsen discovers the truth. The corpse has a scar on its chin exactly like that of his brother who disappeared 33 years ago. The boy is Mads Nielsen, but he hasn't aged at all nor has his body decayed. Before Ulrich can tell someone the truth, he disappears.
The children's fate
Erik and Yasin were abducted. Helge Doppler and Noah took them back to the year 1986 and locked them in the bunker to use them in trials of the prototype time machine. They did the same with Mads Nielsen.
The experiments fail. The children do travel through time, but they are killed in the process and their bodies are left with burnt eyes and burst eardrums. Mads ends up in 2019, while Yasin and Erik are found in 1953 on the nuclear power plant construction site. Policemen Daniel Kahnwald and Egon Tiedemann are baffled by their unusual clothing.
Mikkel Nielsen was not kidnapped. He traveled to 1986 and couldn't find his way back. Assumed to be a child without a family, he is adopted by nurse Ines Kahnwald and begins a new life as Michael Kahnwald.