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Reports: Mom Kept Son Locked Up for Nearly 30 Years

'The mother is suspected of illegal deprivation of liberty,' Swedish police rep says
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2020 8:11 AM CST

(Newser) – A septuagenarian Swedish mother is denying she held her son hostage for nearly three decades after he was reportedly discovered, in bad shape, by a relative. Per local media reports cited by AFP, the 41-year-old man was discovered Sunday after his mother ended up in the hospital and an unidentified family member went to her apartment in the Stockholm suburb of Haninge. Reports in the Expressen and Aftonbladet newspapers say the mother is suspected of yanking him out of school when he was 12 or so and keeping him locked up ever since, though police spokesman Ola Osterling would only say he'd been held "for a very long time." Osterling confirmed that the man has been hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, with reports noting he was found with sore-ridden legs and next to no teeth, was barely mobile, and had only a limited ability to speak.

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"The mother is suspected of illegal deprivation of liberty and causing bodily harm," Osterling notes. The relative who went into the apartment says the place "smelled rotten," was filled with piles of junk and "urine, dirt, and dust." The "brokenhearted" family member notes she suspected for a while that the mother was exerting some sort of control over the man. Most neighbors say they hadn't seen him in years, though one tells Aftonbladet she spotted him at the grocery store a few months back. "I know who you are, you're my neighbor," he said to her, per NDTV. Another local says she would occasionally bump into the mother and make small talk, and the mother would say her son was fine. That neighbor says it seemed weird to her that the apartment's window was always shut, and that the same candlestick had been in it for 30 years. "I'm just thankful that he got help and is going to survive," the relative says. (Read more Sweden stories.)

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