Police were staying mum, but Norwegian media reported over the weekend that a 10-year-old boy found dead in his single mother’s home in Oslo probably died of starvation. Preliminary autopsy reports reportedly found that the boy suffered from malnutrition.
His mother, charged with aggravated child neglect, remains in custody and under 24-hour psychiatric observation. The case is the latest in a string of shocking cases of child abuse in Norway in recent months.
The mother has denied criminal responsibility in the case that has led police investigators to question officials at the boy’s school, his friends, relatives, acquaintances and local leaders at Norway’s child welfare agency Barnevernet. An investigation is also underway into why Barnevernet dropped an initial query into the boy’s welfare last spring.
Professor Lars Uhlin-Hansen at the University Hospital of Northern Norway, told newspaper Dagsavisen that he and his colleagues carry out around 200 autopsies in Norway every year. He called this case “very unusual,” adding that he hadn’t heard of a child dying from malnutrition in Norway in recent times.
Police wouldn’t comment on the preliminary autopsy report, preferring to wait until they were presented with a conclusive report. Neighbors coming forward have now said they often heard “noise” coming from the apartment where the little boy lived with his mother in Oslo. He was generally described as a quiet boy who kept to himself. He was found dead in the apartment in late August, after he had failed to return to the start of the new school year, where he was supposed to begin the fifth grade.