The Vanishing Of Nils Andreassen

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crewtime 08/12/15 (Wed) 01:04:08 #83984920

I was asked to look into the disappearance of Nils Andreassen, and I found an exceptionally interesting case. I definitely have to give kudos to @pandorum for recommending it to me, as I definitely agree with his initial suspicions that there is something strange going on in the matter.

On Friday, June 21st, 1991, Andreassen was seen alive for the last time leaving a party in Oslo, Norway. He did not return home that evening. On Monday morning, his body was found on the side of the road near Jokkmokk, Sweden, the victim of a hit and run. His whereabouts between Friday evening and Monday morning are completely unknown, as well as how he made the thousand kilometer journey from Oslo to Jokkmokk.

crewtime 08/12/15 (Wed) 01:04:28 #83839190

Nils was a student at the University of Oslo, where he had just finished his second year at the school working on his bachelor's biochemistry degree. Although he was from Bergen, Norway, he had stayed in Oslo to work in the laboratory of his professor between terms. His friend Bjørn Hofgaard had to take some summer classes and the two roomed together in summer dorm housing.

June 21st is the summer solstice. In Oslo on the solstice, there is little more than a few hours of dusk around midnight, rather than true dark. As a result, Nils had made plans to make the most of the sunlight and stay out all "night" — spending the entirety of the evening hopping from bars and parties that he and Bjørn had heard would be occurring.

The following timeline is mostly composed of by the testimony of Bjørn, and confirmed by a few witnesses at each of the locations they visited. Nils and Bjørn headed out from their dorm room around eight o'clock and headed to a bar. After an hour there, they were joined by a small group of four friends. They stayed for another drink and headed out from there, taking public transportation to the first party.

They partied for about an hour, before heading off to the next bar, arriving around 11:00 PM. By this point, the sun had set, but, given the summer solstice, it would not get any later than twilight that evening. After about half an hour, Nils and two of the other friends left for another party. Bjørn and two of the friends stayed back, wanting to have a few more beers at the second bar.

Shortly after arriving at the second party, Nils told his two friends that he had run into a girl he had met at party the week before and she had invited him to another party, which he'd be going to with her. He told his friends he'd meet them at another party later in the night, one intended to be thrown around sunrise. His friends wished him luck and sent him on his way. This was just after midnight, and was the last time his friends would see him alive.

When Nils failed to arrive at the sunrise party where Bjørn and all four friends were, they did not think much of it at first. Nils was rather drunk when he left the party, and it was entirely possible he went to another party or — as his friends hoped — had gone home with the girl he had encountered at the second party and gotten lucky.

Bjørn got home after the sunrise party and walked into the dorm to find Nils missing. Exhausted, he shuffled into bed and quickly fell asleep. When he woke up at one o'clock on Saturday, he quickly realized that Nils wasn't in the room, nor was there any sign that he had been back since the pair had initially headed out on Friday afternoon. Although it was possible that Nils was simply out, he made the decision to report his roommate as missing.

crewtime 08/12/15 (Wed) 01:05:04 #64759010

The Oslo police quickly began a manhunt for Nils, although not necessarily a very panicked or urgent one. The search had mostly begun with simply calling several of the regular places and putting out the word that Nils was missing. In most circumstances, this would have been negligent behavior that ensured the death of the missing individual. But in the baffling case of Nils Andreassen, it is highly unlikely that the police could have found Nils before his death.

Nearly 1200 kilometers away from Oslo lies the small village of Jokkmokk, Sweden. Jokkmokk only has a population of just under 3,000. It sits next to Padjelanta National Park, Sweden's largest national park. Today, traveling to Jokkmokk would take a nearly fourteen hour drive. (I was unable to find good information on how long that drive would have been in '91.) As both Norway and Sweden are part of the Nordic Passport Union, no documentation was needed to cross the border.

Early Monday morning, Hilda Granholm was driving on home after a night shift through the woods just outside of Jokkmokk. She remembers there being a black car ahead of her for most of the drive, but wasn't able to give the license plate or model number with any detail. She hadn't been paying much attention to the car until it ran over somebody.

Just after sunrise, a figure stumbled onto the road in front of Hilda and the other car. The other car struck the figure and then quickly drove off. Hilda got out of her car to find the victim had been hit badly, bleeding and all. She called the police, who arrived and brought the injured party to the Jokkmokks Vårdcentral, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Searching the body, police discovered a student ID from the University of Oslo, Norway, belonging to Nils Andreassen. Calling the police in Oslo, they were able to quickly put the dead body they had together with the missing person in Oslo. Police in Oslo were skeptical at first, but faxing photographs between each other confirmed the identity. The police requested an autopsy, in order to determine any additional information that might be relevant.

The autopsy noted the following key facts:

  • Nils, at time of death, had a BAC of .13, indicating that he had recently been drinking.
  • Stomach was full, with evidence of having recently eaten a large meal of various small plates. Little was properly digested, but there were many items.
  • Clean-shaven at time of death, with little facial hair growth.
  • Death was consistent with a car-accident, with little to suggest otherwise.

crewtime 08/12/15 (Wed) 01:09:47 #10287394

So what happened to Nils, really? How did he get to Jokkmokk and more importantly, why was he there in the first place?

It seems that Nils simply … vanished from Oslo and fifty hours later reappeared in Jokkmokk. Although that leaves enough time for him to have traveled there by car, he did not have a car. While attending university, he had relied on public transportation for all his travel needs. None of his friends who did have cars could have taken him there — all were seen that weekend at various points, and were actually helping in the search for him.

Maybe somebody knows where he is? But in the twenty four years since the case, nobody has claimed to know where Nils was or what happened to him. Maybe the girl from the party he left with knows something? But his friends who were at that party didn't see her themselves. Bjørn was at the party where Nils met her, but he doesn't remember anyone Nils talked to at that party. She hasn't come forward, in any case.

Public transportation and other means give nothing. Security cameras at train stations failed to pick up Nils. He didn't get on a plane from Oslo to Sweden during that time (and if he had, he would have still needed to get from the airport to Jokkmokk). It doesn't seem like he took any of the normal ways to travel. But he had to have taken one of these methods — otherwise, how would he have gotten there in the first place?

Maybe his wallet can provide other clues? But with everything else, there's not much here. Nils was found with 458 Norwegian kroner on him — and no Swedish krona. Nobody is sure how much money he had on him when leaving his dorm Friday night, but Bjørn says it couldn't have been more than 800 kroner, as Nils never took much cash out with him out of fear of robbery. The un-accounted for 342 kroner is mostly explained by the drinks that he bought Friday night — nothing to pay for transport. His bank account was of course untouched.

So he appears to have not spent any money between Friday night and Monday morning. This calls into another matter — his beard. The autopsy noticed that it looked like he had shaven within the last few hours, with little growth. Bjørn specifically remembers that Nils had shaved right before going out Friday night — he had to wait for Nils to finish shaving before they could leave. So wherever Nils was, it was somewhere he had access to shaving supplies and the means to do so.

There's also the BAC and food that was in Nils' system when he died. It seemed like Nils had just had a large meal, coupled with plentiful drink. But he was killed in the middle of the woods, so how did he get from the feast he had been at just before getting run over to the road? There's no development for several kilometers from the location he was struck.

The cause of death is of course, the real tragedy of this case. There's no real reason to think it is connected to whatever caused the disappearance of Nils. Hilda had been driving behind the car long enough to establish it was far from Nils at first, and she even saw him alive and walking on the road before he was struck. How Nils died is not a mystery, only where. His death merely prevents us from ever learning what happened to him in the fifty hours before it.

Speaking of Hilda and her eyewitness testimony, however, there's one detail that Hilda always brings up that I found interesting. She's kept this as a part of her story since the beginning and is adamant she remembers it well. I'll let her speak for herself:

Just after I pulled over and got out of the car, I looked through the trees. I could see this fire in the distance and heard a band playing. It was far off, and I didn't really have time to look at it much — I was hurrying over to the body of that boy, trying to find if he was okay. But when I got to his side, I looked up at the fire and it was gone, the music over.

I think that is when he stopped breathing.

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