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Police in southwest Finland investigate suspected child abduction

Investigating officers believe the child may have been taken out of the country.

The logo of the Police Department of Southwestern Finland.
Image: Kalle Mäkelä / Yle
Yle News

The Police Department of Southwestern Finland has launched an investigation into a suspected case of child abduction in the City of Pori on Sunday.

Satakunta District Court ordered the main suspect in the case — a Finnish man believed to be about 60 years old — to be remanded in custody in abstentia on Tuesday.

Yle has decided not to publish any more exact details of the suspect in order to avoid revealing the identity of the victim.

The case also involves another suspect, who is currently in custody, according to head police investigator, Inspector Kimmo Lindholm.

Police carried out an extensive search of an area in northern Satakunta on Monday evening in collaboration with the Finnish Border Guard, but the operation was later called off without investigators uncovering any evidence linked to the case.

Authorities said that a preliminary probe suggests the child has been taken abroad, but refused to disclose any further information such as the detained suspect's relationship with the child, or which country the child may have been taken to.

"More complex than just abduction"

Tarja Räisänen the head of Kaapatut Lapset ry (which roughly translates as the Association for Abducted Children) told Yle that the most common form of abductions involves a parent or parents from abroad disagreeing about where their child should live.

Most children that are abducted from Finland are taken to Sweden. Other common destinations include regions in the Middle East, North Africa, South-East Asia and Estonia, Räisänen said.

Based on the details currently available to the public, Räisänen said she would characterise the Pori case as complex.

"The search suggests it's not possible to know where the child is. In such cases [the possible location] is usually known, but there is a problem getting the child back to Finland. This case sounds like a much more complex criminal act than just child abduction," she said.

Räisänen added that child abduction cases are easier to resolve when the child is abducted from a country that is a signatory of the Hague Convention.

"Around a hundred countries are party to the treaty. If a child is abducted into such a country, there are formal processes in place to retrieve the child back to Finland. If a country is not a member of the treaty, the only way to get the child back is through negotiation between the parents," she explained.

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