Suspect indicted in Sigrid’s murder

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A 38-year-old man who’s been in police custody since last September was indicted Tuesday for the murder of 16-year-old Sigrid Giskegjerde Schjetne. She disappeared in Oslo on August 4 last year and her body was found a month later, hidden on the outskirts of a forest at Kolbotn.

Many came to regard Sigrid Giskegjerde Schjetne as the proverbial girl next door, and her disappearance mobilized thousands of people. PHOTO: finnsigrid.no

Many came to regard Sigrid Giskegjerde Schjetne as the proverbial girl next door, and her disappearance mobilized thousands of people. PHOTO: finnsigrid.no

The 38-year-old from Ålesund, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was arrested just hours before Schjetne’s body was found and he’s been the prime suspect in her murder all along. A 65-year-old acquaintance was also arrested and charged in Schjetne’s murder, but prosecutors announced on Tuesday that charges against him have been dropped. His attorney said she now intends to sue the state for damages on his behalf.

The younger man now believed to have killed Schjetne has denied having anything to do with her death, but police claim he held her captive and then killed her. They believe they have evidence connecting him to the case but prosecutor Nina Prebe told reporters on Tuesday that investigators continue to have many unanswered questions.

“That includes exactly how Sigrid was seized, her exact time of death and how she was killed,” Prebe said. “These are questions we of course want answered. And, not least, they’re questions Sigrid’s family wants answered.”

Her disappearance on that summer evening last year set off an enormous public response that involved hundreds of volunteers searching for her, retracing her footsteps and supporting her family. Police have rarely had so many tips or seen so much active civilian participation in her case.

The man now indicted in her murder has a history of alleged mental illness, according to his family, but he claims he’s sane and ready to stand to trial. Prebe said Tuesday that Norway’s state prosecutor (Riksadvokaten) believes he should be committed to a psychiatric hospital. Court-appointed psychiatrists disagree on whether he’s psychotic, and the resulting doubt  suggests he should not be sent to jail in accordance with Norwegian legal practice.

His trial is set for September 16 and last for three weeks.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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