Iceland, world’s safest country, in shock over rare slaying
LONDON (AP) — Iceland, ranked the world’s most peaceful country, is reeling after police said that a young woman whose body was found on a beach was killed in a homicide.
Gunnar Runar Sveinbjornsson, the spokesman for the Reykjavik Metropolitan Police, said Wednesday that Birna Brjansdottir, 20, went missing on Jan. 14 after a night out with friends.
Her body was found in Selvogsviti, 58 kilometers (36 miles) from the capital on the other side of the country after a weeklong search, although her shoes had been found days earlier at a nearby town called Hafnarfjordur, he said.
Police released a video showing Brjansdottir walking down a Reykjavik street early in the morning after leaving a club in the city’s center alone. She had not been seen since the video.
Two men from Greenland in their 20s are in custody after police used helicopters to airlift onto their fishing trawler before it left Icelandic waters, Sveinbjornsson said. They have not been charged yet, he added.
Their trawler had already left Hafnarfjordur on its way back to Greenland when it was forced back to the port, Iceland’s third-largest town, he said.
Murders are rare in Iceland, averaging around 1.8 per year in the nation of 331,000. The country tops the Institute for Economics and Peace’s global peace index.
“The nation is shocked,” Sveinbjornsson said. “We have very few murders, in some years we have none.”
This story corrects the spelling of the police spokesman’s name to Gunnar Runar Sveinbjornsson.