On Friday evening, father Bengt signed the following message written in Swedish:
“Phone me immediately. I need to talk to you. It can’t wait. We must discuss how to do it. You must trust me. Bengt.”
Then on Sunday evening, the following emotionally-charged plea appeared on the Siba website, this time signed from “The Bengtsson Family”:
“I beg you to answer our appeal, we are suffering so much, please let us talk to Fabbe, so that we can calm him and calm ourselves. Please talk to us so that we can discuss what we need to do to free Fabbe. We have access to what you want – and you have what we want – our dear Fabbe. We assure you that we really will pay to free Fabbe, but we must discuss how to do it in a secure way. That must surely be the best thing to do? The telephone works. Call now, so we can agree on what we need to do.”
Both these new messages are in stark contrast to the controlled and confident tone Bengt used in his first web message last Tuesday.
Gothenburg police have continued to operate their policy of silence, the only comment coming from spokesman Jan Bertilson:
¨”We’ve noted the latest message on the website, but we don’t have any comments.”
The Swedish press have therefore sought the opinion of experts to interpret the latest events. Monday’s Aftonbladet offered two contrasting views on Sunday’s message. Ingemar Krusell, former head of the investigation into the murder of former prime minister, Olof Palme, is convinced the Bengtssons are talking to imposters:
“There are many unscrupulous individuals who want to take advantage of people in a tough situation. Such a group could have contacted the family, but don’t have the nerve to go through with it. That’s the impression I get from the contents of the message.”
Krusell added that if it is the real kidnappers the family are in contact with, it could be a fatal mistake not to involve the police at this stage.
Dick Malmlund of the Swedish Federation for Trade, on the other hand, sees no harm in the message:
“The message shows the family want the whole thing over and done with. Of course they’re desperate… The kidnappers don’t appear to feel secure. Evidently, they haven’t found a method of contacting the family that they’re comfortable with.”
Meanwhile, the silence from the investigation team has reached deafening proportions. There have been no official comments from Gothenburg police either on their own progress or the communications from the Bengtsson family since a press conference on Wednesday 19th January, two days after the kidnapping. Another spokesman, Thomas Fuxborg, told TT:
“Naturally the work continues at a very intensive level, but we’re not making any comments on the case.”
Despite the official silence, GP have reported on Saturday that their enquiries reveal an inner sanctum of between five and eight investigators who are the only people in possession of all the police’s information on the case. The other officers working on the case are only given information necessary for their particular task. Commenting on the unusual level of secrecy surrounding the investigation, a police source told the paper:
“The lid is on and on tight.”
The paper also revealed that the Gothenburg investigators had turned the city’s underworld upside down in a search for information. A number of active criminals had been interviewed during the week, but hadn’t been able to contribute anything to the operation.
The Bengtsson family’s cryptic and increasingly desperate messages on the Siba website are the only indications that something might be happening in this kidnap drama. But frustratingly, it’s impossible to know exactly what.
Sources: Göteborgs-Posten, Aftonbladet