COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The wife of one of Norway’s richest men who was apparently abducted eight months ago might have been killed, police said Wednesday, adding they “cannot exclude a staged kidnapping to hide it.”
Authorities have been tight-lipped about the case of 69-year-old Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, who was last seen alive on Oct. 31. She’s the wife of Tom Hagen, a media-shy real estate investor and owner of an electric company.
It was believed she was kidnapped after a note was found in their house, east of Oslo, saying she would be killed if a ransom wasn’t paid. Norwegian media reported at the time that a ransom of 9 million euros ($10.2 million), to be paid in cryptocurrency, was demanded.
Chief police investigator Tommy Broeske said Wednesday that detectives have now changed their “main hypothesis” about the case because of the absence of any signs of Falkevik Hagen’s life or recent contact with the alleged kidnappers. Police said earlier that the alleged kidnappers had communicated with Tom Hagen by means of a digital platform that was not answerable.
“The most likely is that she has been exposed to a serious crime but we consider it less likely that we are facing abduction with an economic motive. The main hypothesis has been changed to that she has been killed,” he told reporters.
He added that police have no motive for the alleged murder. He declined to say whether anyone has been arrested.
Police were informed about Falkevik Hagen’s disappearance on Oct. 31 but didn’t publicly speak about it until Jan. 9, after which hundreds of tips poured in.
Hagen — a real estate investor and owner of power facilities — is number 172 on a list of Norway’s wealthiest people published by the financial magazine Kapital, with a fortune estimated to be nearly 1.7 billion kroner ($200 million) in 2018.