A man has been arrested in Umea, northern Sweden, after his seven year-old son was stabbed to death at home.
Police have been tight-lipped about the exact circumstances of the murder, which occurred on Sunday, but have confirmed that both a man and a woman related to the boy were taken into custody.
Ebbe Nyberg, of the Vasterbotten Police, told news agency TT that the woman has not been remanded. “She was released after interrogation. The man remains in custody, suspected of murder,” he said. He described the event as “a very tragic family drama”.
The police were called by a neighbour who heard pleas for help at around 08.00 on Sunday morning. When they arrived, they found the severely wounded boy and rushed him to hospital, but he died of his injuries shortly after.
Mikael Rying, a criminologist from Mittuniversitetet, explained to TT that, “Severe mental disorders are nearly always involved in this type of crime.” He said that around three children under 15 are subjected to deadly violence in Sweden each year, down from between 10 and 12 cases in the 1990s. He added, however, that this figure can vary substantially from year to year.
“When children are this badly hurt, one of the parents is the perpetrator in 80-90 percent of the cases. The crime is committed in their apartment and the motive is rarely directed at the child. Instead, mental illness or custody cases can lie behind the violence,” said Rying. “But the sort of case found in Umea is thankfully very uncommon. Weapons are rarely involved in cases with young children,” he added.