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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Mourners gather again after police identify murder-suicide victims

The historic Torpo Church in Ål was opening for mourners again on Tuesday, following a triple murder and suicide last weekend that shocked the small mountain community. Police revealed the identities Tuesday afternoon of all three victims of the father in the family, who has been formally charged post-mortem with killing his wife and two grown children before also killing himself.

The local Torpo Church and stave church from the 1100s have become an important gathering place for mourners in the small mountainous community around Ål, where a longtime resident killed his family and then himself last weekend. PHOTO: Wikipedia/JP Fagerback

His victims were identified as his wife Ingunn Slaatten, age 53, their son Sander Slaatten, age 22, and daughter Signe Slaatten, age 18. Police have reported that all three were shot to death while they slept in the family’s large and modern home at Torpo in Ål, and are believed to have died instantaneously.

State broadcaster NRK reported that both Sander Slaatten and his sister Signe Slaatten had birthdays this week. Sander should have turned 23 on Monday and Signe 19 on Thursday. Police said it was still too early to report a motive for the murders and suicide that also came at the start of the annual Easter holiday week in Norway.

‘The most magnificent people…’
Even Gislerud, a friend and colleague of Sander, told NRK that Sander often spoke fondly of his family. “That’s also why this has come as such a shock,” Gislerud said. “The family seemed to be the most magnificent people in the world, at least that was my impression.”

Sander, who worked as a truck driver for a local transport firm, was described as a positive person who never complained. His boss told NRK that Sander Slaatten had even brought in a birthday cake baked by his mother to share with colleagues on Friday, since many would be away on Easter holiday on his actual birthday on Monday.

His sister Signe was a high school student in nearby Gol, where she also was involved with the student council and had a close circle of friends. Their mother Ingunn, who had married their father in 1999, was a teacher at the local school in Torpo.

Details about the father of the family remained sketchy as police continued their investigation. Press tradition in Norway also refrains from identifying defendants in crime cases until they’re actually convicted, even post-mortem.

NRK reported, however, that he was also in his 50s and had held the same job in a local firm since 1985, where is boss described him as “professionally competent and thorough.” Police continue to investigate what may have set off the attack on his family, and himself.

For NRK’s latest coverage and photos, click here (external link, in Norwegian).

NewsinEnglish.no/Nina Berglund

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