Hundreds bid final farewell to Sigrid

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More than 600 persons took part in funeral services on Wednesday for 16-year-old Sigrid Giskegjerde Schjetne, the Oslo teenager who disappeared while walking home on the night of August 4 and later was found murdered in a forest south of the city. Two men charged in her murder remain in police custody as the police investigation continues.

Sigrid Giskegjerde Schjetne, age 16, was found murdered a month after she disappeared. PHOTO: Politi

Schjetne’s disappearance unleashed a massive search that involved hundreds of volunteers over a four-week period and elicited an unprecedented 3,000 tips to police. The extraordinary public reaction amazed police, and was linked to feelings that Schjetne was the proverbial “girl next door” whose disappearance and death left others vulnerable as well.

Her funeral services at Oppsal Church on Oslo’s east side were conducted by Pastor Sturla Stålsett, son of the former bishop of Oslo Gunnar Stålsett, who passed on the family’s gratitude for the public response and support.

“The ceremony was beautifully led by Sturla Stålsett, with fine music and speeches,” Gjermund Eide, spokesman for the Schjetne family, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “It was a gripping,dignified and beautiful ceremony.”

He said the day was difficult for the family, but the large turnout “made their sorrow a bit easier to bear. It was a day with more tears but also some smiles and nice memories of Sigrid.”

Police, meanwhile, have continued to subject the 64-year-old suspect in the case to intense questioning. He continues to profess his innocence and his lawyer has said he expects to be released soon.

Newspaper Dagsavisen reported earlier this week that the other suspect, age 37, is due to undergo thorough psychiatric evaluation, a process that can take as long as three months. According to a psychiatric report from 2006, he reportedly has suffered for years from hearing voices in his head that command him to attack or kill at random. His temper has been described as “explosive.”

Police have said they have strong evidence against him, and that they believe persons in addition to the two charged in Schjetne’s disappearance and death may have important information about the case. “We think there are people out there who know things that can be of importance to the case,” police lawyer Cecilie Gulnes told reporters on Tuesday.

Their main theory is that Schjetne was intentionally run down by a car believed to have been driven by the 37-year-old, and that the injured teenager was then killed and her body dumped in a forest at Kolbotn.

Police intended to ask the Oslo City Court for another two weeks of isolation for the two suspects. Both arrested the evening that Schjetne’s body was found.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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