UPDATED: A three-year-old boy was found murdered in a house at Stord on Norway’s west coast, and a 13-year-old boy later identified as his foster brother has confessed to killing him. The 13-year-old’s father was also seriously injured and taken to hospital in Bergen after the family violence that’s shocked the small community.
Police were reluctant to divulge many details at a press conference on Friday, “out of consideration for relatives,” but earlier had reported that a knife was involved in the death and injuries Thursday night. On Friday they said only that the little boy died of “external violence.”
The 13-year-old, meanwhile, is in custody but can’t be formally charged because he’s younger than 15, and thus can’t be held criminally responsible under Norwegian law. Police were working through the weekend to establish a motive for the violence, while the boy was taken into psychiatric care.
The boy’s mother and a case worker from the state child protective authority Barnevernet was also later reported to be present when the violence broke out at the house Thursday afternoon. The man’s injuries were initially considered serious, but were later downgraded and his life was not in danger.
The teenaged boy was questioned by police in Haugesund on Friday. “He hasn’t been formally charged but we have granted him all procedural rights and are investigating this as a murder case,” prosecutor Bård Njøsen told reporters, adding, though, that “he can’t be sentenced to prison and will instead be turned over to juvenile authorities.”
Local authorities were also launching an investigation, since the little boy had been placed as a foster child in the home of the injured man, his wife and their 13-year-old son. “This is such a serious case that we must investigate how this could happen,” county doctor Helga Arianson told state broadcaster NRK.
The local church at Sagvåg, where the attack took place, was staying open through the weekend as a gathering place for those needing support. “This is a deeply tragic situation that affects the entire community,” one local official told NRK.