Mystery – Lake Bodom Murders

Unknown crimes happen all the time, and they can happen anywhere. We usually hear of the crimes that happen in the bigger cities, bigger victim counts, more notoriety. But even the smaller, less known crimes need answers, and this is one that hasn’t been answered in over 50 years.

The details:

  • In June 1960, four Finnish teenagers went camping on the shores of Lake Bodom.
  • The two couples consisted of Anja Tuulikki Maki (15) and her boyfriend Seppo Antero Boisman (18). And Maila Irmeli Bjorklund (15) and her boyfriend Nils Wilhelm Gustafsson (18).
  • Three of the teens were killed, Nils survived.

On June 4, 1960 approximately 10:30pm, the two couples went to their separate tents to bed. It is unknown what happened after that precisely, but in the morning Anja and Seppo were dead inside their tent, killed from blunt force trauma. Their killer killed them from outside the tent, through the canvas.

Maila and Nils were both on top of their tent, Maila dead, Nils believed to be dead. Nils stated that the killer attacked him first and believed him to be dead, before attacking the other three teens. An autopsy on Maila Björklund found that she suffered the most stab wounds and was hacked at post-mortem. Nils had suffered stab wounds and broken facial bones.

Nils Gustafsson

The tent appeared torn to shreds, and several items belonging to the group was missing. Clothing was found covered in blood approximately 500 meters away from the site. And the keys to the motorcycle were stolen, but the bike itself was not taken.

The discovery of the attack started at 6am. I say started because a group of boys birdwatching, saw the tent collapse and a blond man walk away from the site. The bodies were found around 11am by a carpenter. He called for police who arrived around noon.

Nils was placed into a hypnotic trance and shared with police as much as he could remember. He proceeded to describe the killer, and a sketch was made. And during the funeral for the victims, a man in the picture resembled the sketch, but his identity remains unknown.

There were as many suspects in the case as there were victims. The most notable are:

  • Pentti Soininen
    • Pentti claimed responsibility for the murders while an inmate in the mid 1960’s.
    • It is true he lived near the site; however he would have been fourteen years old. The probability it was him was slim.
    • Pentti hanged himself on June 6, 1969, on the 9-year anniversary of the crimes.
  • Karl Valdemar Gyllstrom
    • Karl was a kiosk owner and was hostile towards campers.
    • People in town knew he was a violent man and cut down tents and threw rocks at people. Many would say they saw him coming back from the murder scene but were too afraid to call police.
    • Several days after the murder people saw him pouring cement into a well, it was rumored he was disposing of evidence or murder weapons which were never found. The police never investigated.
    • Karl talked with a friend claiming he killed the campers and asked what he should do if he were responsible. The friend told him to drown himself as he would be spending the rest of his life in prison. Hours later, Karle went to Lake Bodo and committed suicide by drowning.
Hans Assmann
  • Hans Assmann
    • Hans lived near Lake Bodom.
    • On the morning of the murder, he had shown up at a hospital in Helsinki with bloody clothes.
    • Hans had long blond hair at the time of the murders and the group of boys birdwatching said they had seen a man with blond hair walking away from the scene.
  • Nils Wilhem Gustafsson
    • The only surviving victim of the murders.
    • Had a normal life, married, had two children, and was retired in 2004.
    • Police tested new DNA evidence and blood from Nils’ shoes was determined to be from the other victims.
    • Nils was arrested and faced trial but was acquitted of all charges in 2005.

The killer is still not known, nor is it expected for them to be identified.

Stay Curious my Friends!

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