Woman in Sweden suspected of keeping son locked up for 28 years

Apartment building in Sweden where a woman is suspected of having locked up her son for 28 years
An apartment building in Sweden, south of Stockholm, where a woman is suspected of having locked up her son for 28 years.
(Claudio Bresciani / TT)

Police in Stockholm are investigating a woman in her 70s who is suspected of having kept her son locked up — possibly for as long as 28 years — in an apartment south of the Swedish capital.

Prosecutor Emma Olsson, who heads the preliminary investigation, said Tuesday that the woman was being held on suspicion of unlawful deprivation of liberty and grievous bodily harm.

Olsson said the woman’s 41-year-old son was found by a relative who then alerted authorities.


The woman has denied wrongdoing, Olsson said, adding that the son was taken to a hospital for treatment for “the physical injuries he had when he was found.”

“We cannot go into what type of injuries,” Olsson said.

The Swedish newspaper Expressen said the man was found Sunday by a relative who had learned that the mother had been admitted to a hospital. The relative went to the flat, found the main door unlocked and entered.

A couple in Perris beat, strangled and shackled their children for years, the abuse escalating from neglect to torture over time, prosecutors said Thursday.

Jan. 18, 2018

The relative, who was not identified, told the newspaper that there was “urine, dirt and dust” all over the place and “it smelled rotten.”

She heard a noise from the kitchen and found the man sitting on blankets and pillows. According to the relative’s account in the paper, he had no teeth, had sores on his legs and his speech was slurred.

“He spoke very fast and a little incoherently, but he was not afraid of me,” the relative was quoted as saying by Expressen.

The newspaper said the man’s apparent captivity had started 28 years ago, which would have made him 13 at the time.


Olsson said investigators would be interviewing the mother, the son and witnesses.