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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Police apologize for macabre find

Police in Oslo issued a public apology after the parents of a young woman killed by a terrorist on the island of Utøya accidentally found some of her remains while visiting the island in August.

The couple was among the large group of family members who accepted an invitation to visit Utøya as part of their grieving process, after police had released the island and, they thought, cleared it of evidence from the masacre carried out by a lone gunman. He killed 69 people before police arrived on the island and arrested him.

TV2 reported last week that after being escorted to the spot where their daughter’s body was found, near the island’s pump house, the couple and two of their other children spotted something white on the ground. The father leaned down to investigate and discovered part of a human jaw and teeth.DNA testing later determined the remains to belong to his daughter.

The family’s attorney told newspaper VG that his clients were traumatized by the discovery and ended up burying the remains in an urn on top of their daughter’s casket, which already had been buried a few weeks earlier. “They experienced this as having to go through a second funeral,” attorney Christian Lundin told VG.

Lundin said, however, that they didn’t want to blame the police, who explained that clean-up efforts after the massacre had been difficult. They nonetheless apologized profusely.

“This is terribly unfortunate and something we feared could happen, and it did,” Pål Hjort Kraby of the Oslo Police District told TV2. He said crews had examined and cleared the island five times after the massacre, before survivors and families of victims were allowed to visit.

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