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Da Costa murder probe officially laid to rest

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Da Costa murder probe officially laid to rest
09:37 CEST+02:00
Prosecutors have officially suspended the investigation into the murder of Catrine da Costa, who was found dismembered in 1984. The case is one of the modern famous cases in modern Swedish legal history.

The decision was made on 1 July, after more than 25 years have passed since the crime was committed.

District attorney Staffan Bergman said the statue of limitations on the case has expired since everything points to the fact that da Costa died in June 1984.

She was last seen on June 10th of the same year, when a man let her out of a car at Kungsträdgården in central Stockholm. On July 18th, a first bag with da Costa's bodyparts was found at Karlbergs beach in Solna, and additional bodyparts were found on August 7th. At the scene, strands of hair were found on a blue towel beside a bag. But no one knows when the bag was put there.

The investigation of da Costa's death became one of the most famous cases in modern Swedish legal history. A pathologist and a general practicioner were found guilty of murder by Stockholm district court in 1988, but the doctors were freed after a retrial.

The court wrote that the doctors were connected to her dismemberment, but that the crime was barred from prosecution under the statute of limitations. They have never stood trial, but lost their licences to practice medicine in 1991.

Bergman told Svenska Dagbladet newspaper that da Costa theoretically could have fallen and dismembered herself and that the murder hypothesis is built upon circumstantial evidence.

“On the other hand, there is quite a bit that points to murder. I haven't heard of anyone being dismembered after a natural death,” he said.

Bergman described the case as “unique” with “a lot of special circumstances”. He also called it “a pity” for the legal system that no one was convicted and above all “tragic for her relatives to never know what happened.”

In a claim that will go before the Attunda district court in November, both doctors, who were acquited for the murder, are requesting 35 million kronor in damages from the Swedish state on the grounds that their lives were destroyed by the charges against them.

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