About 8am on Friday, Daniel called to check that Anders was home.
When I said no, he immediately said that he and Tove were coming over. I hadn’t moved since we’d spoken the night before, but when I heard that sharp note of fear in Daniel’s voice, I snapped out of it, showered and drank about three gallons of coffee.
Between no sleep in 40+ hours and the caffeine buzz, the knock at the door sent a shot of pure adrenaline through me and my heart was still thudding when I let them in. Tove handed me a bag of pastries and said, “I don’t know why I brought these,” and burst into tears. These two people I had been so intimidated by suddenly looked so wretched and vulnerable that I felt myself taking charge. I had this sense of the fact that I was the most able to be calm and dispassionate and support them.
Because I’m not grieving for Hanna. I feel shock at such a terrible thing happening. I feel sad that a young woman with so much of her life ahead of her died. I feel heartsick at the anguish I see burbling beneath the surface in Anders, and in Tove and Daniel. But it would be hypocritical and cloying to claim that she was a dear friend I’ll miss terribly. I won’t do that.
I made them coffee, then we sat, picking at the pastries, and I stated what we all knew: he wasn’t there all night helping them track Hanna’s parents. Tove and Daniel exchanged a look, and I snapped impatiently that they needed to say stuff out loud because I wasn’t a mind reader. Tove is a lawyer; she and Anders met when they worked in the prison service together, transferring prisoners between jails.
She said that the only reason she could think of for them holding him so long is if they have “skälig misstanke.” In Sweden, if the police have reasonable suspicion against someone, they can hold them for three days while they investigate further. She explained that it’s so that the person can’t tamper with evidence or pressure witnesses, but I could barely hear her I was so mad. How can they possibly get away with that in a supposedly civilized country? I’m sure the police in the US would like to conveniently get suspects off the streets while they build cases at their leisure, but they have to CHARGE someone with something before locking them up. I have never felt so foreign as when I realized that both Tove and Daniel were totally fine with the concept of people being locked up for the police’s convenience, they were just concerned with the fact it was happening to Anders.
If it was happening to Anders. That was the first thing we needed to be sure of. Daniel called the station where he was, but they would only confirm that he was there and said that further details were confidential. Then Tove tried a few professional contacts who owe her favors, and finally got through to a friend who works in the same division, though not on the case. The friend couldn’t tell us much, but confirmed that Hanna’s death was being considered suspicious, and they were holding Anders because of skälig mistanke.
Anders is suspected of killing Hanna.
The police have reasonable cause to believe that while I slept, Anders and Hanna went outside together, and she ended up dead.
Spiders of horror scuttled down my spine as I suddenly got a mental image of Anders kneeling over the jetty, holding Hanna under the water until she stopped struggling. Then – maybe just minutes later, back in the stuga, comforting me as I woke up from one of my night terror, softly whispering in my ear that I had made the night more interesting and not to ever worry about anything because he loved me. Leading me gently to the couch and stroking the nape of my neck in the way that he knows makes me feel safe and loved as I asked them all where Hanna was, over and over. Stepping up to protect me from Daniel as we searched desperately for her.
Knowing all the time that her body was floating in that frigid water?