Murder probe over missing Swedish pastor

Police in Värmland in western Sweden have launched a preliminary murder investigation regarding the case of a 78-year-old retired female pastor who disappeared on December 14th.

The woman, identified as Kerstin Segerberg in media reports, was supposed to hand out Christmas gifts on December 14th in the Årjäng area near the Norwegian border, but never arrived. She was reported missing six days later.

All attempts to locate Segerberg and her car, a silver-grey Citroën C3, have been in vain.

Early on in the investigation, police suspected that Segerberg may have been involved in a car accident or ran off a forest road before her car was snowed under, according to a report in the Expressen newspaper last week.

Failing to find any leads, the police are now working on the suspicion that a crime may have led to her disappearance.

Search efforts for Segerberg have been extensive. Local residents, tracking vehicles, and helicopters have searched for Segerberg over the last two weeks with no success.

Segerberg remained active in the church after her retirement. She was serving as an on-call minister at the time of the disappearance.

According to police information, Segerberg, who was single, was always careful about informing others if she was not sure if she could arrive on time or was running late.

In addition, Segerberg did not have a mobile phone, according to Expressen.

On the 14th, she had an appointment with a couple at the Glaskogen nature reserve, but never arrived and was not heard from later.

The last record of any activity by Segerberg was that she was at a gas station in Sillerud 15 kilometres southwest of Årjäng at 2.36pm on the 14th. Later that evening, she was to have served as the pastor on duty.

Police hope that the public will come forward with more tips, especially hunters who are expected to head out into the woods on January 15th, when the wolf hunt begins.

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