Missing girl found after being kicked off train
TT/The Local/dl · 3 Aug 2011, 13:30
Published: 03 Aug 2011 08:38 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Aug 2011 13:30 GMT+02:00
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Police finally found the girl around 8.30am Wednesday morning, while the conductor was suspended later in the day.
The girl, a refugee of African descent who speaks very little Swedish, was travelling to Gothenburg with her 22-year-old sister.
Her older sister, who had the tickets, was in the toilet when the conductor came by.
The incident took place around 7.30pm on Tuesday evening, but it took three hours before officials from national rail operator SJ contacted Örebro police and explained what had happened.
The girl's older sister continued to Gothenburg, believing her sister was somewhere on the train, the local Nerikes Allehanda newspaper reported.
Örebro police spokesperson Mats Nylén said the girl was found in central Kumla around 8.30am Wednesday morning.
“The girl was just found, in good spirits,” Nylén told the TT news agency.
Rather than being left to wander alone in Kumla throughout the night, the girl was instead taken in my a local resident.
“The woman felt sorry for the girl and let her come home with her. She stayed there overnight. When they went out this morning to buy food and a train ticket, they were discovered by the police who were looking for her,” said Nylén.
According to Nylén, had the girl not been found unharmed, train personnel may have come under criminal suspicion.
“Now that she's been found and nothing has happened, the chances are somewhat diminished. Otherwise it could have been a crime of recklessness; that someone subjected this girl to unnecessary risk of being harmed,” he said.
“We'll look into it further, and perhaps the prosecutor will also have an opinion about it. The main thing is that the girl has been found.”
Later on Wednesday, SJ spokesperson Dag Rosander announced that the conductor who forced the girl from the train had been suspended,
“She will be interviewed about what happened. She can then explain her views on the matter, then we'll make a decision. What it will be, I can't say at this point,” he told TT.
According to Rosander, a child who lacks a ticket can't be kicked off a train in the matter the girl was ejected in Kumla.
“In this case, something has clearly gone wrong and procedures weren't followed,” he said.
In looking for the girl, police had searched stairwells and other areas in Kumla where they suspected a frightened little girl might be hiding.
Trains departing from Kumla during the evening had also been searched.
SJ spokesperson Torvald Svahn admitted earlier on Wednesday that the conductor had exercised poor judgement.
“Personnel made a mistake and acted wrongly. We deeply regret what has happened,” he told TT.
Speaking to the Expressen newspaper, SJ spokesperson Sven-Ingvar Håkansson said that the conductor misjudged the 11-year-old girl's age.
"The only thing we can confirm is that the girl got off at Kumla and that a judgement was made that she was much older. We were very shocked when we heard that she was only 11-years-old," Håkansson told the newspaper.
"If we'd known or believed that she was so young we naturally wouldn't have let her off at the station in Kumla. If someone doesn't have a ticket and is a young person or child, they can get off where there is someone waiting for them. We don't kick children off."
Speaking with the Aftonbladet newspaper, Håkansson pointed out that riding a train without a valid ticket is a criminal offence.
According to police spokesman Nylén, the girl may actually be older than her stated 11 years of age due to uncertainty about her background.
The girl's home is in Nora, a small town of about 6,500 located about 35 kilometres north of Örebro.
Kumla, home to one of Sweden's most notorious prisons, is located about 20 kilometres south of Örebro.