In yet another disturbing story of prolonged confinement of a helpless person, a 68-year-old Swedish woman, suffering from multiple sclerosis, is believed to have been held by her own partner for several years in a small cabin. The man has since been arrested.
The woman was locked away near Eksjö, close to the town of Jönköping in south-central Sweden, police spokesman Nils-Erik Eriksson said.
That she is a multiple sclerosis patient makes it particularly poignant. Multiple sclerosis is unpredictable and varies in severity. In some people, it is a mild illness, but it can lead to permanent disability in others.
The person with MS can suffer almost any neurological symptom along the disease, including changes in sensation, muscle weakness, abnormal muscle spasms, or difficulty in moving; difficulties with coordination and balance, problems in speech or swallowing, visual problems, fatigue and acute or chronic pain syndromes, and bladder and bowel difficulties.
Apparently unable or unwilling to cope with the demands on him, the woman's 58-year-old partner chose to keep her under lock and key for years.
At a remand hearing on Friday afternoon, the man denied any wrong doing. Nevertheless, he was remanded in custody on suspcions of crimes related to violence against women and for unlawfully detaining the woman.
Police remain tight lipped about the case but a request for a public defender includes information that the woman may have been locked up for as long as nine years, according to the Smålands-Tidningen newspaper.
According to the newspaper, authorities had at first been investigating whether the man had been abusing the woman.
After questioning witnesses last week, police then brought the man in for an interrogation on Wednesday.
Information gathered during the interview lead police to arrest the man and expand their investigation in also included looking into the illegal detainment of the woman.
Police refuse to comment on the woman's condition.
According to the newspaper, the woman is in a hospital, is seriously ill, and weighs only 35 to 40 kilograms.
There are few details on how and why the woman was locked up, other than that she was confined to a 15 square metre cabin.
Despite suspicions that the woman has been held for years, Smålands-Tidningen also uncovered evidence that the woman has been allowed out in public.
The newspaper also spoke with a source who reported having met the pair and is surprised over revelations that the woman may have been the victim of abuse.
According to prosecutor Klas Hellgren, both crimes of which the man is suspected have been committed continuously since 1999 through August of this year.
Hellgren confirmed for the TT news agency that he had already filed to have the man remanded in custody.