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Dalarna police admit to mistakes

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Dalarna police admit to mistakes
17:35 CEST+02:00
Police in Dalarna admitted on Monday they made a mistake by not following up on a tip they had received about the man who confessed to killing 10-year-old Engla Höglund.

At midday Monday, the Dalarna police had filed a complaint against themselves for their questionable handling of the tip on 42-year-old Anders Eklund. The report will be investigated by the National Police Related Crimes Unit in Gothenburg.

“The crime we are considering is breach of duty. Shortly I'll make a decision as to whether or not to initiate an official investigation,” said deputy head prosecutor Bo Lindgren to news agency TT.

Police received a tip about Eklund last November in connection with their investigation of the murder of 31-year-old Pernilla Hellgren in Falun in the summer of 2000, but the lead was never followed.

At a Monday morning press conference in Borlänge in southern Dalarna, police and prosecutors expressed mixed emotions about the case.

“I'm proud of the police's work. At the same time, we must pose self-critical questions about whether we could have avoided this tragedy. Should we have handled the tip on the suspect differently?” said Dalarna police head Sven Olov Hellberg.

Engla's body was found late on Sunday evening in Gästrikland, between 50 and 100 kilometres east of the girl's hometown of Stjärnsund.

Forensic investigators examined the area throughout the day on Monday. A large area around the 10-year-old's body was blocked off and investigators searched inch for inch up to where the body still lay near the almost impassable forest road where it was found.

It is still unclear if Engla was killed where the body was found or in the Stjärnsund area. The location of the body is outside the area in which police and volunteers had been searching for the missing girl.

During Monday's interrogation, Eklund was informed of suspicions against him for yet another crime, an attempted rape in Sandviken, east of Dalarna, in 2006.

He then confessed to the crime.

“We can't say for certain that further suspicions won't emerge. It's a bit disconcerting when new things come up in every round of questioning. He says himself now that there isn't anything else,” said Eklund's lawyer Jan Kyrö to TT.

Kyrö doesn't want to reveal any details about Engla's murder, but says that it was not a sex-related killing.

Information from witnesses, photographs, and forensic evidence in the form of tyre tracks on the gravel road near the Engla's house, led police to the 42-year-old truck driver.

During questioning on Sunday, Eklund first confessed to the murder of 31-year-old Hellgren in Falun in 2000 and then to the killing of 10-year-old Engla.

Dag Andresson from the National Criminal Investigation Department's murder unit was present at the interrogation.

“Before the interrogation I had a private conversation with the 42-year-old and his defence attorney where I said that we were about to inform him of our suspicion that he had killed a woman in Falun,” Andresson told TT.

When Eklund was informed of what the police knew regarding his involvement in the Falun murder he wanted to talk to his lawyer.

“When the questioning began he confessed to killing the woman. He explained in his own words how the murder took place. We tried then to steer questioning toward the 10-year-old but he still denied having anything to do with her disappearance. After additional questioning he asked to have a private conversation with his lawyer. After that conversation he then confessed to taking the girl's life,” said Andersson.

After confessing to killing Hellgren, Eklund said that the murder had weighed on him for eight years.

The interrogation was then broken off as Eklund said he wanted to tell police where they body lay. Police then drove him to the location he had indicated and where 10-year-old Engla's body was eventually found.

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