Thus ended the 17 day kidnap drama which has gripped the country. Witnesses described how the 32 year old Siba chief executive emerged from a thicket in Gothenburg’s Slottskogen park at around seven o’clock this morning. He sat himself on a bench and caught the attention of a nurse on her way to work at the nearby Sahlgrenska Hospital.
The nurse recognised Bengtsson immediately and helped him call the police. The police arrived at 7.45 and cordoned off large areas of the park and started a forensic examination of the scene.
“He was sitting on a bench. He looked rather dishevelled,” the nurse told Aftonbladet.
Two other witnesses agreed that his appearance was shabby and that he looked “listless”.
A police source told Aftonbladet that Bengtsson gave the appearance of being drugged and that his temperature was extremely low. It was speculated that he’d been driven to the park during the night and left there.
The sudden conclusion of the search for Bengtsson took the police completely by surprise, they didn’t know where he was being held or that he would turn up in Slottskogen.
The three leading figures in the police investigation, Klas Friberg, Chief Commissioner of the county police; Sven Alhbin, leading the inquiry; and Peter Larsson the public prosecutor, gave a press conference on Thursday morning.
They are convinced that no ransom has been paid and that their initial information suggests that Bengtsson was released by his kidnappers and did not escape.
“No money has been paid and we won’t be saying whether any sum has been discussed,” said Klas Friberg.
Sven Alhbin reported that Bengtsson was in good condition “in the circumstances”:
“He doesn’t have any external injuries. He’s currently undergoing a medical examination.”
After being seen by doctors, the 32 year old will meet detectives before being re-united with his family.
The businessman disappeared from his home, a mere fifteen minutes’ walk from where he was ultimately found, at 7.45am on Monday 17th January. Since then, the search for him has been marked by extreme secrecy and silence from the police on the one hand, and on the other, increasingly desperate internet appeals to the kidnappers from his family.
At the press conference, the first held by police on the case for over two weeks, Peter Larsson described how the investigation stands:
“We’ve now achieved our most pressing goal, to save Fabian Bengtsson’s life. We must now work patiently towards identifying and apprehending the perpetrators.”
Alhbin said that since Bengtsson was being held in an unknown location, the police had had to proceed very cautiously until now.
“We now have much greater freedom to act,” he added.
The police revealed at the press conference that all the indications from the start have been that the kidnappers have very good local knowledge of Gothenburg and that Bengtsson was being held within or near the city.
Police also claimed that co-operation with the Bengtsson family had worked well. There has been much speculation that the family had lost faith in the police operation and had therefore made their own appeals via TV and the internet and managed to contact the kidnappers independently.