Sweden is usually thought of as a friendly and welcoming place. But one 70-year-old mother may have broken that stereotype forever. Emergency rescue crews rushed to an apartment in Stockholm, Sweden, on Sunday after they received reports that the woman had kept her son, now 41, trapped inside the apartment for more than twenty-eight years. The man’s condition was so poor that he had open sores all over his body, almost no teeth left in his head, and could barely walk and talk, according to reports from Swedish media.
The 41-year-old victim was rushed to the local hospital. He underwent surgery to treat his wounds; however, none of his injuries were thought to be life-threatening.
While the man was being treated, police opened an investigation into the incident. Because it was obvious that the mother had trapped her son inside the apartment for decades against his will, she was placed under arrest and taken into custody.
By Tuesday, the apartment was being scoured by police investigators. The home was blocked off from any entrants as police searched for clues.
Reports indicate that the mother kept her son as her prisoner after she pulled him out of school as a twelve-year-old boy back in 1991. Sources close to the mother claimed that she had become “very overprotective” of her beloved son after there was a “family incident” that scarred her for life.
Neighbors knew that the apartment was not well-maintained. The same advent candle had been in one window for thirty years. However, neighbors did not know the extent of the imprisonment because they would stop to talk to the old woman and even seen her out in public. However, their conversations would be non-intrusive and stick to topics such as the weather.
These neighbors would ask after her son, to which she would reply that he was doing “fine.” She would always change the subject promptly after that.
One person saw the son out in public over the summer. He approached her and said, “I know who you are. You’re my neighbor.”
Most neighbors never saw the victim. They did not even realize an adult male was living in the Stockholm apartment.
The man might have remained in his mother’s prison until her or his death if it were not for the woman’s relative. This relative had long suspected that the elderly mother was controlling her son but did not know that he was a prisoner.
In November, the mother lost control of her plot. She had to go to the hospital for treatment for an unreported condition. On Sunday, the relative entered the apartment and found the 41-year-old son sleeping on the kitchen floor with just one blanket. The relative reported that the apartment stank and had not been cleaned in years. The aroma of urine and rotting food filled the residence. There was so much trash everywhere that it was hard to walk about the residence.
The son was found with small wounds and sores all over his body. Pus leaked from open sores.
“The mother is suspected of illegal deprivation of liberty and causing bodily harm,” Stockholm police spokesman Ola Osterling told AFP. “The man is in hospital. His injuries are not life-threatening.”