Kidnapped psychologist: police baffled

Over a week has now passed since the mysterious disappearance of high profile psychologist, Helena Bering.

The whereabouts of the 56 year old mother of five have been the focus of intense media speculation, despite the failure of police to make any real progress in what has become known in the tabloids as “the kidnap drama”.

Bering is known to have parked her car on Valhallavägen in Stockholm shortly before 1pm on Wednesday last week, but she then failed to turn up for a dentist’s appointment at 2.30 that afternoon. Since then the drip-drip of information from police has been increasingly foreboding.

On Thursday last week, after interviewing a number of witnesses, the police regraded their investigation from a ‘missing person’ case to a ‘kidnapping’. The next day, the police received a list of prisoners with whom Bering had had contact during her time as a prison psychologist.

On Saturday, her car was found parked at the Nynäshamn ferry terminal, which led the tabloids to declare that “Helena is in Latvia”. Police merely said that they were in contact with Latvian police, who in turn said that they would be tracking down everyone who was on the ferry which arrived from Stockholm last Thursday.

But the most dramatic news came on Tuesday when it was reported that forensic experts had found traces of blood in Helena Bering’s car. On the same day, Expressen published an open letter from Bering’s husband and politically influential friends, begging her kidnapper to “let her come home”.

Suddenly on Wednesday the attention shifted closer to home, with the news of the latest police theory that Bering was – and apparently still is – being held against her will somewhere in Stockholm’s Östermalm.

Thursday’s Aftonbladet was first with the news that police had finally found someone who had seen Bering during the key hours between parking her car and missing her dentist’s appointment. A professional acquaintance bumped into her outside her practice at 2pm.

Police also revealed that they found a copy of ‘Gula Tidningen’ – a classified advertising paper – in her car, suggesting that she had arranged to meet someone, perhaps in connection with buying furniture for her practice. Investigators have established the 56 year old’s location when her mobile phone was last switched on, but they aren’t revealing it.

The problem is, there’s still too much that the police don’t know. They don’t know how Bering’s car got to Nynäshamn – and have already inspected film from speed cameras along the main road without success. They don’t know why she had a parking ticket for a place she didn’t park in. They don’t know who she arranged to meet. And despite numerous appeals, they’ve had little information from the public.

Stockholm police spokesman, Kjell Lindgren, said: “It’s impossible to say what kind of crime she could be the victim of. She could be imprisoned, tied up or being held against her will in some other way. She could even be dead. It’s impossible to speculate.”

Ronnie Jakobsson of the international prosecutor’s office commented: “Her disappearance is not natural. It doesn’t fit in with her day to day life or her habits. She has not disappeared of her own accord.”

Bering is known for her work as a prison psychologist and has appeared a number of times in the media. Expressen reported that she had appeared on SVT news the evening before she went missing, discussing the issue of prisoners’ rights.