Woman's Body Found in Iceland in Rarest of Murders

Birna Brjansdottir, 20, was last seen alive on Jan. 14
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2017 4:00 AM CST
Two crewman aboard the Greenlandic trawler Polar Nanoq were taken into custody.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – The largest search and rescue operation in Iceland's history met a grim end Sunday with the discovery of a 20-year-old's body on a beach on the south coast. Birna Brjansdottir had been missing for 8 days, and the AFP notes the country reported on little else during that time. Officials are treating it as murder, and a murder most rare: Iceland has averaged just 1.8 murders per year (among a population of 330,000) since 2001. Brjansdottir was last seen early on Jan. 14, after a night of bar-hopping in Reykjavik. Surveillance footage showed her buying a kebab around 5am, and two sailors from Greenland, ages 25 and 30, were on Wednesday arrested. Police believe she was murdered by the sailors and tossed into the water, reports Iceland Magazine, which flags two pieces of evidence.

Brjansdottir's shoes were found in the port of Hafnarfjordur near where the Greenlandic trawler Polar Nanoq had been moored at the time she disappeared. Traces of her blood were found in a Kia Rio rented by the two sailors from the ship and parked near the dock. The car matched one spotted on surveillance footage near the last known sighting of Brjansdottir, per AFP. Members of the elite Viking Squad intercepted the trawler at sea and interrogated the crew. The ship returned to Reykjavik and the men were arrested. A third man was released and a fourth remains in custody after cops found a cache of drugs aboard, per Maritime Executive. Some 725 people participated in the search for Brjansdottir, whose cause of death has not been determined. (In other crime news, the "single worst case" of child murder in Miami remains in flux.)

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