UPDATED: The 20-year-old Swedish citizen suspected of a brutal stabbing murder and robbery in Oslo last week has been arrested in France and faced a custody hearing on Wednesday. His use of his mobile phone gave him away.
Makaveli Lindén, formerly known as Christian Bo Lindén, was tracked down and arrested in the French city of Dijon on Tuesday after a week of intense international police cooperation.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Wednesday morning that Norwegian police were sending a team to France to question Lindén, who’s currently sitting in a cell at Dijon’s central police station.
A French judge was expected to order him held in custody while the police investigation continues. Norwegian police were also expected to request that he be extradited to Norway, where he’s been charged with robbing a man at knifepoint then stabbing another young man to death. Both crimes occurred last Monday morning in Oslo’s Majorstuen district. The 24-year-old Heikki Bjørklund Paltto was found stabbed more than 20 times after the suspect allegedly broke into the apartment Paltto shared with three other roommates. Both the man held up at knifepoint and Paltto are believed to have been random victims.
Police in Oslo had issued an international warrant for Lindén’s arrest after he showed up on surveillance cameras and police had compiled what they believed to be his escape route. The Nowegian police also went to the unusual step of both publicly identifying Lindén and issuing photos of him, in the hopes of gathering more tips and protecting the public from him.
A lawyer for the murder victim’s family and the coach of the victim’s hometown football club in Mysen, southeast of Oslo, told NRK that they were relieved the suspect had been arrested. Prosecutor Christian Hatlo told NRK it had been a “demanding case” as police in several countries chased Lindén around Europe.
Police believe, based on observations from the public and surveillance camera photos, that Lindén initially took a train from Oslo back to his hometown of Uppsala in Sweden last Monday afternoon, but then quickly left the country.
Norwegian police were reluctant to reveal how they tracked him from Sweden. Stockholm-based newspaper Aftonbladet, however, reported that Lindén was “localized” in Belgium on Sunday after police picked up signals from his mobile telephone.
Also wanted back home in Sweden
It remained unclear how Lindén traveled from Sweden to Belgium but French police told Aftonbladet that he was then traced to a train traveling from Chalon de Champagne on Tuesday afternoon. “He was arrested by civilian police backed up by reinforcements at the train station in Dijon,” a French police commissioner on duty told Aftonbladet, adding that the arrest itself was carried out “quietly” and without resistance.
Hatlo, the Norwegian prosecutor, said at a press conference in Oslo Tuesday evening that “it has been an intense chase that’s carried on day and night. Much of the work has been directed abroad. We have cooperated with Interpol, Europol and Eurojust.”
He said it was now a matter of “how cooperative” Lindén will be regarding extradition to Norway. If he resists, it can take months. Newspaper VG and NRK have reported that Lindén also had been sought by Swedish police after allegedly violating the terms of his probation from an earlier offense in Sweden. In addition to having a record of narcotics charges, he’d been in prison after breaking into an apartment in Uppsala and holding its occupants hostage at knifepoint while he robbed them of cash and other valuables. He’d been released from prison on those charges but remained on probation and failed to meet up as demanded for “conversations” with Swedish authorities.