Horror in Sweden: woman is said to have locked her son for 28 years


The case shakes Sweden and raises questions: why hasn’t anyone noticed anything suspicious for so long? Why did nobody miss the man? Have social authorities and especially school inspectors failed?

The son: severely malnourished, but not in danger of life

There are no answers yet, but there are facts: According to media reports, a relative found the 41-year-old man on Sunday in a suburb of Stockholm in his mother’s apartment after she was hospitalized. The man was severely malnourished, with open wounds on his legs; and he could hardly speak. In the meantime he has had an operation and is doing better.

When he was twelve years old, his mother took him from school and locked him at home for reasons that are still unknown. The police assume that he was held against his will in the apparently neglected apartment in the south Stockholm suburb of Haninge for “a very long time”, allegedly between 25 and 30 years.

The mother: arrested, possibly in custody for longer

The 70-year-old mother denies all allegations, but has been arrested. She is being investigated on suspicion of deprivation of liberty and bodily harm, according to prosecutor Emma Olsson: “We now have to investigate this man’s living conditions and try to find out how it was possible that he could simply disappear from society.”

The case raises the question of whether authorities or neighbors could and should not have saved the son from this fate. According to the Aftonbladet newspaper, most of the neighbors said they had never seen the son. One woman said she met him a few months ago in a grocery store. Another neighbor told the newspaper that she was surprised that the case did not come to light even after the home was renovated. And yet another neighbor said that when asked, the woman only said that her son was fine, otherwise she never really talked about him.

Tomorrow the public prosecutor’s office wants to decide whether the mother will remain in custody.

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