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Can We Talk About This Insane Murder Investigation Going on in Sweden Right Now?

By Dustin Rowles | Pajiba Storytellers | August 22, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Pajiba Storytellers | August 22, 2017 |

This is not a movie yet, but it almost certainly will be before it’s all said and done, and given the twists and turns it’s taking, it may need an eight-part limited series to cover all the angles. Niels Arden Oplev will probably direct it, and it will star Noomi Rapace as journalist Kim Wall, and Alexander Skarsgård as the eccentric, temperamental inventor Peter Madsen.

Madsen is a Danish inventor, a self-taught aerospace engineer. Until a few weeks ago, he was building rockets. He had hopes of becoming the first person to build a homemade riding rocket into space. In 2008, he built a homemade submarine using $200,000 he crowdsourced. The submarine was pulled out of commission in 2011 for repairs and relaunched in April 2017.

On August 11th, Madsen was set to sail the submarine, but abruptly texted a crew member to cancel the trip the night before. Meanwhile, on the night before, the submarine set sail with only two people aboard: Madsen and journalist Kim Wall. It left Refshaleøen around 7 p.m. and was spotted again the next morning around 10:30 a.m. About 30 minutes later, the submarine sank. Madsen, however, was rescued by a private boat. The Swedish journalist, Kim Wall, was reported missing by her boyfriend.

Madsen was subsequently charged with homicide. The police accused him of sabotaging the submarine in order to hide evidence of the murder of Kim Wall. Madsen initially denied killing Wall, saying that he dropped her off safely at the tip of Refshale Island the night before.

Three days later, investigators concluded that Madsen intentionally sabotaged the submarine.

Yesterday, the case took another twist when Madsen changed his story, confessing to police that Wall died in an accident on the submarine and that he buried the body at sea. Sounds perfectly sane, right? Journalist dies when, say, she falls and hits her head, and instead of radioing authorities to report her death and bringing her body to shore as soon as possible, Madsen decides to bury the woman’s body at sea?


Soon after revising his story, investigators found a body of a woman, although it was missing its head, legs, and arms. Authorities haven’t yet positively identified the torso, and they say it may take days. It was found, by the way, by a passing cyclist.

Madsen, by the way, is known for being argumentative and temperamental. Wall, meanwhile, was set to move to Beijing, where she’d recently signed a lease. The investigation has riveted Scandinavia for days, according to the Times:

For some Danes, the mystery had the air of the Scandinavian crime thrillers for which the region is known. “This story is endlessly fascinating and as in any good crime novel we find the truth piece by piece,” said Lone Theils, the author of “Fatal Crossing,” a novel about two young girls who go missing on a ferry.

“There’s still a lot of mystery and lots of speculation. Everybody here has their own theories on what happened. I haven’t been anywhere at dinner or coffee with more than two people where this story didn’t come up. People share what they’ve heard and what they think.”

What’s the truth? Well, clearly he killed her. What was his motive? Did he chop up her body? What was his account of her accident? (Police are keeping details under wraps while the investigation is ongoing.)

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.