Toddler found home alone with dead mother

Police now believe the 22-year-old woman found dead in Hjo in western Sweden on Friday afternoon may have been killed on Wednesday, which means her three-year-old daughter was home alone with her murdered mum for almost 48 hours.

Currently a 25-year-old man held on suspicion of murder is already known to the police. He is a resident of a town in Västra Götaland county in western Sweden.

“We know that there’s a link between the man and the dead woman. They have been in contact over the internet”, said Lars Johansson at Skövde police to news agency TT.

The single mother was discovered dead in her apartment by a relative at around 1pm on Friday. According to police, she had been brutally attacked.

TT spoke to Kati Falk, a psychologist who has worked in child psychology for 25 years and specializes in helping families affected by trauma.

“The child probably tried to wake up her mother and when that didn’t work, she would have experienced great terror and panic. This then turns into apathy where the child shuts off its feelings”, she told TT.

“A three-year-old cannot have any understanding of what has happened. The damage is done in the panic she experiences and that she cannot be calmed down or be consoled”.

Apparently it is most important that the child has a chance to put into words what has happened, for instance through play.

“She needs to talk about her traumatic experience in measure, in an appropriate way. Professional help is necessary for a long time. My recommendation is that a child in this situation gets therapy for a very long time. If a child doesn’t get the right help after this type of trauma, there is a risk that the child will be affected by emotions that are destructive for her further development in life.”

“I don’t think one can ever walk away from such an experience. The solution isn’t either to be free, but to be able to handle those feelings of panic which are connected to the trauma. The child will encounter her relatives´ despair. The relatives mustn’t either pretend that nothing awful has happened but should be able to cry together and talk about the trauma. But it is also important to remember happy memories of her mother and show the child that it’s ok to also be glad”, Kati Falk says.

The murder suspect is denying all charges but admits he was in the woman’s apartment on Wednesday.