Murder probe into death of missing 4-year-old

A 4-year-old boy was found dead in a wooded area near his home in south central Sweden on Sunday night.

Murder probe into death of missing 4-year-old

He had been reported missing earlier in the day after disappearing from a residential area playground.

The boy had left his home in Ljungby on Sunday afternoon to go play in a nearby playground.

According to the local Smålands Posten newspaper, he went missing after having an argument with older siblings, but no one seemed to notice he was gone.

Around 10pm, the boy’s lifeless body was found just a few hundred metres from his home, in a small wooded area adjacent to the playground, five hours after he had last been seen.

At first police downplayed the possibility of foul play, but on Monday morning they said that they continued to explore whether or not a crime took place.

“It can’t be ruled out, but it’s too early to say anything definitive about it,” police spokesperson Reinhold Liljedahl told several media outlets

He told Sveriges Radio (SR) that the boy’s body was found near a trail in the woods, not far from the playground.

As police have yet to rule out that the boy was killed, a preliminary criminal investigation into murder has begun, according to local media.

“Our forensic officers have investigated the location where the boy was found and they can’t say for sure whether this is an accident or if a crime has been committed. This means that we routinely instigate a preliminary investigation into a possible murder, pending results from the autopsy,” said Robert Loeffel, head of informations at the Kronoberg Police.

Police had been notified of the boy’s disappearance at 7.30pm, prompting a massive search that included sniffer dogs and six patrol teams.

Several volunteers also participated in the search for the missing 4-year-old.

“The siblings and parents looked themselves at first, but when they couldn’t find him they called police,” duty officer Christer Karlsson of the local police told the newspaper.

In the initial stages of the search, police looked in stairwells, sheds, and cellars, guessing that the boy may have sought shelter somewhere.

As it turned out, however, the boy had apparently been outside the entire time. Despite this, the police told news agency TT on Monday that they did not think the boy had died from hypothermia.

According to the police, they will spend Monday morning going from door to door in the neighbourhood and continuing the forensic investigation of the area where the boy was found.

“We’d appreciate any information the general public may be able to provide,” Loeffel told TT.

On Monday morning the little boy’s body was taken to the forensic department in Lund where the autopsy will be performed.

The Scanpix photographer on the scene reported that the mood in the area was subdued on Monday morning. Hardly any locals were seen on the streets in Ljungby.

“People are terrified here and many are afraid to let their children go to school,” Mikael Fritzon told TT.

The authorities have informed all local school principals of the situation.

“They will be following the crisis procedures, meaning staff will be answering questions and handling concerns in order to speak to the students about what’s happened,” said Carina Karlund, head of information at Ljungby municipality, to TT.

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Fatal workplace mishaps claim two lives

Two workers died on the job in Sweden on Wednesday in two separate accidents involving cranes, less than a week after two workers died after drowning in coal tar at a coke plant.

Fatal workplace mishaps claim two lives

In one accident, a 63-year-old crane operator died after a ten-metre long post came loose and hit him in the head. The accident took place near the Rörvik dock on the island of Orust off Sweden’s west coast.

Workers were operating a crane on a barge located several metres from shore in an effort to secure the posts into the seabed. For some unknown reason, one of the posts fell from the crane, striking the 63-year-old. He was rushed to Norra Älvsborgs hospital where he later died from his injuries.

The second accident took place in central Malmö. Two workers were up in a bucket lift stringing up Christmas lights on lamp posts when their truck was struck by another truck.

One worker, a 64-year-old man, fell several metres to the ground, while his colleague managed to remain dangling in the bucket. Witnesses reported seeing the man lying bloodied on the ground as ambulance workers tried to revive him.

He was taken to hospital, but doctors were unable to save him.

The truck that struck the crane was driven by a student driver in upper secondary school who was accompanied by an instructor, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reported.

While no one is currently suspected of committing any crime in connection with the accident in Malmö, two police reports were filed, one for a workplace accident and the other for a traffic violation.

The two deaths come just days after two workers died at a coke plant in northern Sweden after drowning in coal tar that spilled out of a tank during routine maintenance. The incident, which took place at a facility operated by steel-maker SSAB, sparked anger from unions about lax workplace safety.

“It is completely unacceptable that there are such shortcomings in the working environment that people die on the job,” IF Metall spokesman Anders Ferbe told the TT news agency at the time.

TT/The Local/dl

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