Police consider death by elk in murder case

A former murder investigation has been reviewed by police who now suspect a 63-year-old woman found dead in Småland, southern Sweden, last year was killed by an elk.

The woman’s body was found by a lake close to the village of Loftahammar in September 2008.

She was last seen taking her family dog out for a walk in the forest. When she did not return home her husband ventured out to look for her and found her dead body.

The 68-year-old was immediately arrested and detained on suspicion of murder. He was held in police custody for five months.

He revealed his story to newspaper Expressen. “When my children and I buried my wife I was still suspected of killing her,” he said.

After an autopsy failed to determine the cause of death, further analysis was conducted.

An investigation by Sweden’s National Laboratory of Forensic Science concluded that strands of hair found on the woman’s body and clothes came from a species of deer.

Elk experts at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Umeå also confirmed that saliva from an elk was found on the woman’s clothes.

The man was released in January without charge when the investigation took a new course.

Police have refrained from commenting on details of the case so far but a press conference will be held in Västervik on Tuesday to explain the current state of the investigation.

An elk expert will also be in attendance to explain the findings of the forensic analysis.

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‘Stop taking selfies with elk,’ police warn Stockholmers

Stockholm police have asked the public to stop taking photos with elk, after several of the wild animals had to be killed after getting agitated by selfie-takers.

'Stop taking selfies with elk,' police warn Stockholmers
Whether in nature or in the city, if you do see an elk in Sweden, always keep a distance. Photo: Lola Akinmade Åkerström/

Police needed to shoot the elk after they wandered into residential areas including Nacka and Enskede in the capital, Mitt i Stockholm reports.

“An elk that has got lost can usually find its way back if it is calm. But when people run up and take pictures, it becomes stressed and aggressive. It is utterly misanthropic and it’s outrageous that people do not understand better,” police officer Kenneth Kronberg, responsible for the National Game Accident Council (NVR), told the newspaper. 

“Game wardens have agreed that there is nothing wrong with the elk in the city. However, they get very stressed because there are so many people trying to take pictures. That’s why we have to kill the elk, because of 08-ers [a pejorative term for Stockholmers] who think the animal world looks like a Walt Disney movie.”

As well as avoiding taking photos with the animals, police also urged the public to avoid attempting to pet or stroke them, or getting too close. If you see a wild elk, instead you should keep a safe distance away.

In 2017, a rare while elk drew crowds of visitors hoping to catch a glimpse after a video went viral, and again police had to warn the public to treat the animal with care and avoid approaching it. The elk then grew aggressive, charging at a dog-walker, which led police to say they would need to kill the elk if they could not chase it away from the residential area.