Eddie Jönsson, who was sentenced to secure youth care after killing two teenage girls in Hallandsåsen in 2004, escaped with two others. Police say they do not yet have any leads.
The three apparently forced a female guard to hand over her car after threatening her with a knife which they had stolen from the institution’s kitchen.
Police traced them as far as a summer holiday area a few kilometres away.
“We don’t know yet whether they have hidden themselves in a summer cottage or have gone on in another car,” said Björn Svensson, the spokesman at Västmanland police.
It is the second time this summer that Eddie Jönsson has found himself on the run. In June he escaped from Sundbo but was caught a day later.
But this time, it is another inmate who is thought to have led the escape. Another 18 year old was recently transferred to Sundbo from Råby, a lower security institution, after staff said they were unable to handle him.
He made his way into the Sundbo kitchen by threatening a member of staff with a sharpened toothbrush. He took some knives while Jönsson forced another employee to hand over her set of keys.
A third boy, a 16 year old, was described as a “hanger-on” to the others and was in Sundbo because of his tendency to try and escape from lower security units.
The head of the institution, Arne Andersson, described the boys as “complete criminals”.
“If you’re sentenced for murder, you’re obviously dangerous,” he said.
“I am clearly concerned, deeply concerned. At the same time I’m grateful that none of our staff were injured or killed.”
Arne Andersson said that Eddie Jönsson’s motive might not be what observers would expect.
“He has had a feeling of hopelessness here and is doing everything he can to be placed in prison instead,” said Andersson.
“That is the motivation to this escape – he thinks that prison is best.”
The lack of security at what is supposed to be one of Sweden’s most secure youth units brought swift criticism upon the government from opposition politicians.
Torsten Lindström, a Christian Democrat member of parliament, wanted to know what measures the government was taking “to protect society from the tendency of criminals to escape”.
He pointed out that the authorities ought to be able to keep young offenders secure until they are rehabilitated, while Johan Pehrson of the Liberal Party called for tighter security.
“There is a need for a youth unit with almost prison standards from a security point of view,” he told Aftonbladet.
“It’s a last resort, but we can’t have this sort of thing,” said Peherson.