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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Teen found dead, suspects charged

After a dramatic day of intense investigation, police confirmed that a body found in a forest at Kolbotn Monday night was that of missing 16-year-old Sigrid Giskegjerde Schjetne of Oslo. Two men have been arrested, both of them charged with her murder.

Sigrid Giskegjerde Schjetne, age 16, had been missing since August 4. PHOTO: Politi

One of the men, said to be an ethnic Norwegian born in 1975, has several earlier criminal convictions, including some for use of excessive violence. The other man arrested is aged 64, also charged with murder. Both are in custody, undergoing questioning and pleading innocent to the charges against them.

Police wouldn’t reveal a cause of death and said they couldn’t reveal any further details after what Oslo vice crimes chief Hanne Kristin Rohde called “an extremely demanding 24 hours.” No information was released as to how long Schjetne may have been lying in the forest where she was found, or what police think happened on the night of her disappearance. Neither Rohde nor her colleague took any questions at a brief press conference Tuesday evening.

Schjetne disappeared while walking home from a visit with a girlfriend on the night of Saturday August 4. Her disappearance sparked one of the largest searches in Norwegian history, with hundreds of volunteers joining police in efforts to find the missing teenager or clues to her disappearance.

The weeks dragged on with no breakthrough in the case, and Schjetne’s distraught parents ultimately offered a reward funded by anonymous donors for information leading to their daughter’s return. Last week police charged a convicted rapist with making false statements to the police about Schjetne’s disappearance. Rohde said he is not one of the two men now under arrest.

Finally came word that police had found the body of a partially hidden person Tuesday night in a forest area behind a semi-industrial area at Kolbotn, south of Oslo. They cordoned off the area, sent the body in for autopsy around 4am and then carried on with another intense investigation of the area. Police revealed little information to the media but the attorney representing Schjetne’s parents told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that they were informed of the discovery of a body, and Rohde said they later were kept informed of developments throughout the day, referring to a “good and tight dialogue” with Schjetne’s family all along.

Release of the autopsy report was continually delayed but then came news that police were using specially trained dogs at various locations around Kolbotn, that they’d raided several local businesses, that they’d made arrests and that a public defender, the high-profile attorney John Christian Elden, had been appointed to represent the 37-year-old charged with murder. Police also reportedly raided the home of the other man charged.

“He’s undergoing questioning,” Elden told NRK Tuesday afternoon, referring to his new client. “I haven’t had a chance to speak with him yet and don’t know more about the case.”

Police in the Follo district where Kolbotn is located had said early on that they weren’t ruling out that the body was the missing teen’s. Rohde said another press conference would be held on Wednesday.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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