UPDATED: Norwegian police are searching internationally for a man believed to have snatched a two-year-girl after murdering her mother in the small community of Grua, Oppland County. Police have also issued international bulletins for return of the child, who was later seen with a man on a bus to Copenhagen.
“We know that the two were on the bus at least as far as Gothenburg,” prosecutor Mari Lauritzen Hasle told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “They could have gone all the way to the destination of the bus, in Copenhagen.”
The latest drama in a wave of domestic violence in Norway began to unfold Wednesday, when police were called to a modest home in Grua in the township of Lunner. It’s a small, scenic community in the hills between the valley of Nittedal, just north of Oslo, and Hadeland, a rural district in the most southerly portion of Oppland County.
The area is within commuting distance of Oslo but is known for being relatively quiet, until police and the press descended on the community after finding the body of a 17-year-old woman in the house in Grua. Details remained sketchy throughout most of the day, as police launched their initial investigation and called the case “complicated.”
By Thursday morning, police could announce that the dead young woman was an asylum seeker from Afghanistan who arrived in Norway on March 30. Police later said she lives at an asylum center in Lyngdal in Vest-Agder, southern Norway, but had leave from the center to visit family in Grua. A family with two adults and three children live in the house where the victim was murdered.
The man who’s now the target of an international arrest warrant is also believed to be from Afghanistan, in his 20s, and the father of the missing two-year-old.
The little girl was last seen in Grua on Wednesday morning with a man believed to be the murder suspect, according to police. Acting Police Chief Linn Hilde Fosso told reporters that he is “not registered in Norway in any way” and they know little about him. That prompted police to also search for him internationally, with special control points set up at all border crossings.
“Police investigators worked quickly to establish that the child wasn’t with any other family members in Grua,” said Follo at a press conference Thursday morning. “Police sent out a nationwide alarm to all border crossings with a photo of the child.”
The man has now been formally charged in the murder of the woman. Follo said police had no information about any conflict between the two.
Police spent seven hours examining the house and state police unit Kripos was contributing with technical and tactical asssistance. NRK reported that police have also been in contact with neighbours, the local taxi central, bus companies serving the area and railway NSB, and were calling for tips from the public.
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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