At a press conference in Bangkok, Thailand, 35-year-old Maria Elfversson from Gothenburg pleaded for help from the public and local media in the search for her missing daughter, Alicia.
“My despair is endless. Day and night I think of Alicia. My family and I have had constant contact with different authorities, international police, various embassies and more, but still nobody has been able to locate her,” she said.
Elfversson last saw her daughter in June of 2007, when Alicia’s father, Torgeir Nordbo, picked her up for what he billed as a two-week trip to Norway to visit relatives.
The couple’s relationship had been stormy since shortly after Alicia was born.
At the time of her daughter’s disappearance, Elfversson was raising Alicia in Gothenburg against the wishes of Nordbo, who was living in Thailand.
After several days passed without word from either Alicia or the girl’s father, Elfversson soon learned from a Norwegian lawyer that Nordbo would be taking Alicia on an “extended vacation”.
Shortly thereafter, the police were called in and determined that Norbo never went to Norway, but instead drove with Alicia across Europe to Morocco before flying to Cambodia. He was charged in his absence with kidnapping.
The case is complicated by the fact that it is not a crime for a biological father to abduct his own children in Cambodia.
Elfversson hopes that the offer of a reward may lead to additional clues that will help the quest to find her daughter.
“It’s unbelievably tough to be in this situation and not know anything about my daughter,” she told The Local.
While she doesn’t fear that Norbo would physically harm Alicia, Elfversson is worried about how the circumstances may be affecting Alicia, who had never been away from her mother for more than a few days at a time prior to the abduction.
“I’m worried for her well being. I’m worried for her and for what she understands of the situation. She hasn’t seen her mother for nine months and I have no idea what sort of things he’s telling her,” she said.
Norbo owns property in Thailand and Cambodia, and was last seen in Cambodia in February of 2008.
Elfversson plans to travel to Cambodia on Wednesday to raise awareness of the situation with the authorities and media there. She hopes that the efforts will help authorities track down Alicia’s father, or that he may hear her pleas and have a change of heart.
“He’s on the run,” she said.
“He’s got to understand that this isn’t a viable long term solution for him or for Alicia.”