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Iceland - Guðmundur Einarsson, 18, & Geirfinnur Einarsson, 32, Jan & Nov 1974

Discussion in '1970's Missing' started by zwiebel, May 15, 2014.

  1. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    This is a deeply mysterious case, with some stunning, haunting photography of Reykjavik, Iceland, at the link. A haunting story by Simon Cox too.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/2014/newsspec_7617/index.html

    It's about the 'murders' of two people in this tiny nation (population 300,000) in the 1970s;

    Gudmunder Einarsson, 18, who disappeared Jan 26th 1974, during an inebriated walk home after a party, along a perilous, snow covered lava field (with crevices in the earth up to 30m deep). His body has never been found.

    Geirfinnur Einarsson (no relation), 32, who disappeared November 19, 1974, after getting a call, leaving his wife and two children at home, and driving to a cafe in the nearby harbor of Keflavik. His car was found parked nearby but he remains missing.

    In a twist that has all the appearances of a miscarriage of justice, 6 young people ended up being convicted of the murders. This followed months of incarcaration in isolation, with the threat it could continue indefinitely, dozens (up to 100) of lengthy interrogations without a lawyer, and even physical torture. Authorities prescribed drugs such as Diazepam for the detainees too.

    No connection between the victims was ever established, being a dark-haired 'foreigner' seemed to factor in police investigations, no physical evidence ever connected the suspects to the disappearances, and it took months and months for police to collect statements from the suspects that in any way agreed with what may - or may not- have happened, and possible motives.

    The springboard for the case seemed to be the questioning, two years after the first disappearance, of an 18 year old girl, Erla Bolladottir on an unrelated, minor crime. She was the girlfriend of dark-haired Saevar Ciesielski, 20, whose Polish surname stood out in the community. Erla was separated from her 11 week-old baby for long periods during her questioning. It's not known why, but investigators showed her a photo of missing Gudmunder, and when she said she had been at the same party he'd been to, things kicked off from there.

    All six charged are/were free.Two died prematurely, including Saevar, who spent years trying to get his conviction overturned after his release. The other, Tryggvi Leifsson, left behind diaries he secretly kept in jail, where he wonders how he can have committed the murders police say he did, yet remember nothing.
    Two, including Erla, continue to maintain their innocence.
    Two, including one who is now a minister, rarely speak about the case.

    'I'm certain this has put a huge stain on the reputation of the Icelandic police,' says Snorri Magnusson, head of the police union.

    The case has been taken up by UK-based, Icelandic forensic psychologist Gisli Gudjonsson, who helped overturn the convictions of the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six in the UK.

    I'd love to hear what others think about this case, and really recommend checking out the article - it is a long, amazing read. A radio show about this case will air in about half an hour, and you'll be able to listen online after, here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0435jz1
     
  2. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    'Long before the main court procedures, four of the defendants had repeatedly withdrawn their confessions, which they said were the result of physical and mental torture'.

    http://www.grapevine.is/Features/ReadArticle/An-End-To-The-Neverending-Nightmare

    What worries me - I think there may well be one unsolved murder in this case. The missing teen I think may have died in the snow on his walk home. But the man who just vanished after going to the cafe? And his car was found abandoned....
     

    Attached Files:

  3. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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  4. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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  5. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    I am listening to the radio interview now. Erla's showing Cox where they were supposed to have buried a body.

    C: You've taken the body out into the lava field, what happens now?

    E: They dig a hole, put the body in and pour petrol on it.

    C: You signed the confession - did that happen?

    E: It never happened..the idea is absurd.
     
  6. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    Gudmunder, the first missing teen, was drunk, it was snowing, and insisted on making the 10km walk home across the treacherous lava field after the party.

    Nobody thought it was suspicious at first as it is not uncommon for people to just vanish in Iceland's harsh terrain.

    It wasn't until the second disappearance of the man at the cafe that police reopened the first case. On the strength of some rumours they had heard.
     
  7. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    E: They told me very clearly I had obviously experienced something traumatic that night and couldn't recall it because of the trauma. They told me they were going to help me and I wouldn't get out of there until I remembered....

    (Erla when she was being questioned for fraud, but, when asked, had told police she had a dream about her boyfriend and his friends 'whispering' under her bedroom the night Gudmunder disappeared.)
     
  8. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    Erla made a false confession of seeing the murder she says, knowing it was untrue. But then when the other five suspects made statements matching hers, she began to think she was going crazy and had seen a murder.

    After that, police decided there was a connection between Gudmunder's disappearance and that of the older man, Geirfinnur too. So they brought her in again and got her to confess she knew about that murder too. She got three years for her role.
     
  9. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    Tryggvi Leifsson's daughter is reading from her father's diaries now. he was also convicted for the murders and is now deceased. Although he never spoke about his crime and later burnt his diaries, his daughter found three and kept them.

    Tryggvi had been held for two years without access to a lawyer when he wrote the diaries.
     
  10. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    Gisli, the forensic expert who looked at this case and worked on high-profile UK ones, cross referenced the diaries with reports of what had happened at the time re interrogations etc. He said he was totally, totally, shocked by what he found.
     
  11. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    Gisli: The diary really shows the torment he went thru - how an uneducated person can gradually come to think they committed a crime...

    None of the investigators in the case would speak to Cox, but the former prosecutor did...

    Pros: There were a lot of clues, they lied all the time, they presented false confessions...I think the death of Geirfinnur was an accident, a fight over illegal alcohol.....

    Cox: And Gudmunder, what about his murder?

    Pros: I have no idea...
     
  12. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    A former detective in the case is saying "I've been there, I was shocked at what happened to these individuals.....I don't feel guilty at doing nothing because what could I have done? I was young and naive. But I feel ashamed."

    Erla is being told now by Cox, that Gisli is 'absolutely convinced of your innocence' and she is breaking down...
     
  13. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    Well.

    I don't know enough about this case to come down very firmly either way, but I tend to think that a woman who served three years, but 40 years later is still protesting her conviction, may have a point.

    And the former prosecutor in that interview certainly didn't seem to present a very coherent case for why he believed all the convictions were sound, or why the two cases were ever connected, and what the motive was.
     
  14. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    I wonder if police ever questioned Geirfinnur's wife again about why he went out that night? It just seems a little odd to me, for a married dad of two, who usually spent evenings home with his wife and kids, should suddenly get a call one night and just take off without saying where he was going?

    Had he ever done that before?

    Absolutely no suggestion wife had any involvement, just that she may have thought there was something she shouldn't mention, in case she should get her husband into trouble?
     
  15. Stella

    Stella Member

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    They never found either body? If so, that seems strange that police would suspect murder without at least the victims remains.
     
  16. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    Exactly. And I get the impression that when people disappear in Iceland, enquiries are never that extensive. There is an alcohol problem there, like Finland, and it can be very cold. Together with treacherous terrain and very cold water, that's a lethal combination.

    I think I read somewhere that bodies immersed in very cold water may never surface? So if Geirfinnur was murdered at the harbour and thrown into the water there, there is little hope his body will ever be recovered.
     
  17. zwiebel

    zwiebel New Member

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    Gudmunder, I feel, is still lying on the lava field somewhere, where he expired from exposure in 1974. Some of his remains are probably findable, if enough resources are devoted to the search. In my opinion.
     
  18. Stella

    Stella Member

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    I wonder if they ever tried to trace that phone call that got Geirfinnur out of the house? He didn't tell his wife where he was going?
     
  19. ZaZara

    ZaZara Well-Known Member

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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/2014/newsspec_7617/index.html
     
  20. meanmaryjean

    meanmaryjean Verified RN (Pediatrics Specialty)

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    VERY interesting case. Thanks for posting all of this Zwiebel!
     

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