A 28-year-old woman from Bulgaria, known by police to be working as a prostitute in Oslo, was found murdered in her car at Bispekaia, just behind the Opera House, on Thursday evening. Police described the murder as especially brutal and they were calling for tips from the public.
Galina Sandeva, whose body showed signs of massive violence, had been missing since Wednesday but her disappearance had not been reported. Two of her friends found her car, with Sandeva’s battered body inside, shortly after 5pm.
“We can’t rule out that she had been with a sex customer,” Grete Lien Metlid, leader of the section for violence and sex crimes at the Oslo Police District, told reporters at a press conference on Friday. Metlid said police also weren’t sure whether one or several assailants were involved.
She said police had been in contact with Sandeva several times in connection with her work as a prostitute. It is legal to sell sex in Norway, but illegal to buy it after politicians toughened prostitution laws several years ago in an effort to crack down on human trafficking. Many of the prostitutes in Oslo are believed to be victims of organized traffickers.
It was unknown whether Sandeva had been subject to threats or violence earlier. Her family had been informed of her death, and consented that the police would reveal her identity and line of work. “This is a difficult situation for them, but we think it’s necessary to go out with this information as part of the investigation,” Metlid said.
Metlid said police were mounting a major murder investigation and already had questioned several people. Anyone with information about Sandeva was asked to call the police at (+47) 22-66-96-00 or send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.