Finnish Authorities Complete Preliminary Investigation Into 1960 Lake Bodom Murders

March 27, 2005

According to Newsroom.Finland.fi, Finland's National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has finished the preliminary investigation into the killing of three teenagers in a camping site next to Lake Bodom in Espoo almost 45 years ago, a crime which gave CHILDREN OF BODOM the inspiration for their name.

As the case moves to the Espoo district prosecutor's office, NBI still suspects Nils Gustafsson, a bus driver and one of the campers.

The police will give a copy of the investigation file to the suspect as well.

The case, shrouded in mystery for the best part of four decades, was reopened spring last year as new forensic technology led to the arrest of Mr. Gustafsson. The pretrial detention was soon mitigated into a travel ban, which was lifted in the summer.

The suspect denies having committed the crimes.

"The denial continues to stand. I cannot comment any further, for I have not yet acquainted myself with the preliminary investigation material," said Riitta Leppiniemi, Mr. Gustafsson's lawyer, reached by the Finnish news agency STT in China.

In June 1960, Mr. Gustafsson was found bloodied and disoriented next to a tent where his three comrades, a boy and two girls, lay dead from multiple stab wounds.

"Based on the material the scale is weighed down significantly toward the guilty side," Tero Haapala, head of the investigation, told STT.

Two prosecutors will now start combing through the 500-page file. Heli Haapalehto, one of the prosecutors assigned the case, did not on Thursday want to assess how long she and Tom Ifström, Espoo's chief prosecutor, would study the data.

"The case is so wide and complicated that it will surely take time. We can work in peace as the suspect is not imprisoned and no date has been set for bringing charges," Ms. Haapalehto said.

The National Bureau of Investigation relied chiefly on material gathered in the early 1960s. But several witnesses were interviewed again and new ones discovered.

DNA analysis that exploits the latest technology played a big role in the preliminary investigation. Samples taken at the murder scene were analysed in laboratories in Finland, Germany and the UK.

"There was a surprising amount of material gathered from the scene still accounted for. In the process we proved that some 40-year-old samples and materials were still good to be examined and results were obtained from them," Mr. Haapala said.

While the latest technology led to conclusions that would have been impossible when the murders were committed, the head of the investigation feels the case could have unravelled earlier than it actually was.

"Certain things come up from the preliminary investigation material that could have been looked at before."

For more information on the Lake Bodom murders, visit the CHILDREN OF BODOM fan site Scythes-Of-Bodom.com.

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