ake Bodom Murders

Lake Bodom Murders


Lake Bodom Murders  Lake Bodom Murders

The Lake Bodom murders took place in Finland in 1960 on the shores of Lake Bodom in the city of Espoo. Two 15-year-old girls and an 18-year-old boy were killed. 18-year-old boy Nils Wilhelm Gustafsson, who was found in the morning at the scene, alive but unconscious. He had a broken jaw and stab wounds, but he made a full recovery. Nils Wilhelm Gustafsson said that he does not remember what happened. Despite bloodied shoe prints and crime scene evidence matching the soles of Gustafsson's shoes (found hundreds of meters away), he did not appear to be considered the main person of interest for the initial investigation.

More than forty years later, Gustafsson was officially questioned as a suspect after re-examining the evidence gathered in 1960. Police said a new forensic blood stain test indicates Gustafsson is the killer. However, the case was not completed as it was circumstantial evidence.


On Saturday, June 4, 1960, four Finnish teenagers decided to camp on the shores of Lake Bodom (Finnish: Bodominjärvi, Swedish: Bodom träsk), near the city of Espoo, at Oittaa Manor. Maile Irmeli Bjorklund and Ana Tuulikki Mäki were fifteen years old at the time; they were accompanied by eighteen-year-old boys Seppo Antero Boisman and Nils Wilhelm Gustafsson.

Somewhere between 4:00 and 6:00 (EET) in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 5, 1960, Mäki, Björklund and Boismann were stabbed to death and beaten to death by an unknown assailant. Gustafsson, the only survivor of the massacre, suffered a concussion, fractures of his jaw and facial bones, and bruises on his face, but survived. He subsequently stated that he saw a passing attacker dressed in black and bright red.

At about 6:00 am, several boys watching birds from some distance reportedly saw the tent collapse and the blond man walked away from the site. The bodies of the victims were discovered around 11:00 by a carpenter named Esko Oiva Johansson. He alerted the police, who arrived at the scene at noon.

Initial investigation
The killer did not injure the victims from inside the tent, but instead attacked the residents from the outside with a knife and an unidentified blunt object on the sides of the tent. The murder weapon was never found. The killer took several items that detectives considered mysterious, including the keys to the victims' motorcycles, which themselves remained. Later, Gustafsson's shoes were found partially hidden about 500 meters from the scene of the murder. The police did not cordon off the site or record the details of the scene (later seen as a serious mistake) and almost immediately allowed the crowd of police and other people to trample and interfere with the evidence. This mistake was compounded by the fact that the soldiers were called to help with the search in the lake for missing objects, some of which were never found.

Björklund, Gustafsson's girlfriend, was found stripped to the waist and lying on top of the tent, and was the worst victim of all. After her death, she was stabbed several times, while two other teenagers were killed with less brutality. Gustafsson was also found lying on top of the tent.


1 Mayla Irmeli Bjorklung F 15 years old
2 Anja Tuulikki Myaki F 15 years old
3 Seppo Antero Boisman M 18 years old
4 Niels Wilhelm Gustavson M 18 years old Sole survivor, arrested in 2004 on suspicion of murder, acquitted in October 2005.

The suspects
There were many suspects during the investigation of the Lake Bodom murders, but the following are the most notable.

Valdemar Gyllström
Many locals suspected that Karl Waldemar Gillstrom, a kiosk keeper from Oittaa, was known to be hostile to tourists. Police found no hard evidence to link him to the actual killings. They were skeptical about the alleged confessions he made because they considered him alarmed. He drowned in Lake Bodom in 1969, most likely by suicide. People in the city knew that Gillstrom was violent, cut down tents, threw stones at people who came to his street, and some later said that it was Gillstrom, whom they saw returning from the murder scene, but were too afraid to call the police about him ... The police have never done DNA tests from Gyllström, and it’s too late now, but a book released in 2006 details this theory in detail. The book also claims that the police almost immediately ignored much more evidence that was previously unknown to the general public due to language barriers, among other things.

Hans Assmann
The greatest public suspicion centered on Hans Assmann, who lived a few kilometers from the shores of Lake Bodom. A number of popular books have publicized the theory that Assmann was responsible for the Bodom and other murders. The police did not take this seriously, as Assmann had an alibi for the night of the Bodom murders (and was said to be in Germany at the time of the other murder). On the morning of June 6, 1960, he appeared at a hospital in Helsinki with bloodied clothes.

The arrest and trial of Nils Gustafsson
At the end of March 2004, almost 44 years after the event, Gustafsson (not a suspect in this case, as far as the public knows) was arrested. In early 2005, the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation announced that the case had been solved based on a new forensic analysis. According to the statement, Gustafsson was drunk and kicked out of the tent when he attacked another boy, breaking his jaw in a fight that resulted in three murders.

The trial began on August 4, 2005. Gustafsson's lawyer argued that the killings were the work of one or more unauthorized persons and that Gustafsson would have been unable to kill three people, given the extent of his injuries. It has always been known that the shoes worn by the killer and left 500 yards away belonged to Gustafsson, who was found barefoot. Modern DNA analysis was important to the prosecution, as it showed that the blood of the three murdered victims was on their shoes, while Gustafsson's was completely. The prosecution stated that it follows that Gustafsson must have been stabbed at a different time than the attack on the murdered victims, and that the only explanation for this was that Gustafsson was stabbed by himself after he committed the murders and took off his shoes, the Prosecution attempted to back up their case by identifying the two bird watchers of Gustafsson as the person they had seen at the crime scene and by claiming that he made a compromising remark while in custody. On October 7, 2005, Gustafsson was acquitted of all charges. The Finnish state paid him 44,900 euros for the mental anguish caused by the lengthy pre-trial detention, but he was denied permission to sue Finnish newspapers for defamation.