Swedish murder suspect on trial after genealogy DNA match

Swedish double murder suspect goes on trial after police matched him to crime scene DNA on a genealogy website

  • Daniel Nyqist is charged with 2004 murder of a woman and eight-year-old boy
  • He confessed to the killings after he was arrested based on DNA evidence
  • Change in Swedish law allowed authorities to search in a genealogy database 

A Swedish double murder suspect went on trial today in a 16-year-old case that went unsolved until police matched him to crime scene DNA on a genealogy website.

Daniel Nyqist, who confessed to the killings after his arrest last June, has been charged with the 2004 murder of a 56-year-old woman and an eight-year-old boy. 

Both were stabbed in a random act one morning in the quiet southern Swedish town of Linkoping in a crime which shocked the country.   

After years of fruitless investigations, police arrested 37-year-old Nyqvist after a law change allowed them to search for the DNA they found at the crime scene on the websites Gedmatch and Family Tree.  

A court sketch shows Daniel Nyqvist, far right, and his lawyer Johan Ritzer at a court in Sweden today where Nyqvist is facing a double murder charge based on DNA evidence 

The crime has long gripped the nation with investigators unable to come up with either a perpetrator or a motive despite finding the DNA. 

Police also found the murder weapon, a bloody cap and witness descriptions of a young man with blond hair, and even called in the FBI for help but to no avail.  

The case was finally cracked when new legislation in January 2019 allowed police to search for matches to suspects’ DNA on commercial genealogy websites, which are popular among Swedes seeking long-lost relatives. 

‘We received a match almost immediately. And several months later, the suspect could be arrested. His DNA was taken and matched 100 per cent,’ police said in a statement the day after his arrest.

Nyqvist, whose brother was also briefly a suspect based on the DNA match, later confessed to the double killing.

Aged 21 at the time, he admitted to obsessive thoughts about killing and that he chose his victims randomly, first stabbing the boy and then the woman.

According to investigators, he had lived a secluded life near Linkoping since the murders.

An unemployed loner who liked to play computer games, Nyquist only rarely ventured out of his parents’ house, media reports say.

Medical experts have concluded he suffers from a serious psychiatric disorder and did so at the time of the crime. If convicted, he will be sentenced to psychiatric care.

The case file in the Linkoping murders became the second biggest in Sweden’s history after the 1986 murder of prime minister Olof Palme (pictured) 

The case shocked Sweden which has long held a reputation as one of the safest countries in the world.  

Over the years, the case file grew to become the second biggest in Sweden’s history, after the 1986 murder of prime minister Olof Palme. 

Earlier this year, prosecutors announced they were closing the Palme case and named graphic designer Stig Engstrom as the chief suspect. 

Engstrom, who died in 2000, had long been known to Swedes as ‘Skandia Man’ after the insurance firm with offices near the shooting, where the suspect worked.  

But the end of the Palme saga in June left many Swedes dissatisfied after prosecutors admitted the evidence would be too thin for a trial. 

Decades of speculation about Palme’s death had included theories that he was killed by South African security services or Kurdish separatists.  

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