26 Enero 2017 15:59
There are only 1.8 murders a year in Iceland, so the mysterious death of this young woman has shaken the country.
The discovery of the body of a 20-year-old woman on a beach south of Reykjavik has stunned Iceland. This is because the island and its 330,000 inhabitants has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Homicides are especially rare.
The initial disappearance of Birna Brjansdottir led to the biggest search-and-rescue operation ever carried out in the nation’s history. According to local media, 725 volunteers took part.
8 days later, Birna was found dead. Shortly after, two sailors from Greenland, aged 25 and 30, were arrested – though they have yet to be charged. Police have said they are treating the case as murder, though ‘currently it is not possible to determine the cause of death’.
The tragedy occurred on 14 January, after a night of drinking in Reykjavik’s bars. Surveillance footage showed Brjansdottir stumbling along the snowy streets of the city.
Her Dr Martens were found in the port of Hafnarfjordur, near the dock where a Greenlandic trawler – the Polar Nanoq – was moored.
With the participation of more than 725 volunteers, this case has involved the largest search-and-rescue operation in Icelandic history.
The link between Brjansdottir and the two suspects is a red Kia Rio, rented by the sailors, in which traces of the victim’s blood were found. The car was observed close to the spot where Brjansdottir was last seen, and security footage showed the vehicle parked near the ship around 6.30 AM.
The Polar Nanoq lifted anchor shortly after Brjansdottir went missing, but members of Iceland’s elite police force – the Viking Squad – flew out to the ship by helicopter to question the crew. They returned to Reykjavik with the two sailors taken into custody.
According to police data, Iceland has registered an average of 1.8 murders per year since 2001. In this nation where police officers patrol unarmed, most homicides are the result of alcohol or mental health issues.