A 14-year-old boy in the southern Norwegian town of Søgne has confessed to murdering a 14-year-old girl whose body was found by paddlers in a local river two weeks ago. He was arrested by civilian-clad police while on his way home from school on Thursday, and is now in the custody of juvenile authorities.
The murder has shocked the small coastal town just west of Kristiansand, best known as a highly popular holiday destination in the summer months. Police wouldn’t reveal the motives for the murder, saying only that there had been a “disagreement” between the two.
When the body of 14-year-old Alma Gabriela Knutsen was initially found on August 29, police believed she’d been a drowning victim and stated there was “nothing criminal” behind her death. That evaluation is also often used in cases of suspected suicide.
Further investigation, which Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported as including a review of messages found on her mobile phone, raised suspicions she’d been murdered, however, and that the 14-year-old boy was the prime suspect. “There were a series of factors in the investigation, including technical evidence and interviews, that together pointed toward a murder,” local sheriff Terje Pedersen told newspaper Fædrelandsvennen.
When the boy was brought in for questioning he admitted to killing Knutsen and also led police to the murder scene, where further technical examination and evidence secured supported his confession.
Since the boy is too young to be held criminally responsible for the murder, he was placed in the custody of juvenile authorities. A defense attorney appointed to represent him said he was being “well taken care of by a professional apparatus,” while the families of both the boy and his victim have also been provided with crisis teams.