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Swedish Nanny Killed in Boston, Body Cut in Half

June 26, 1996

BOSTON (AP) _ A winning $1,500 Swedish lottery ticket gave Karina Holmer the spending money she needed to go to America. The headstrong woman had always dreamed of seeing the world.

A job as a nanny in a Boston suburb would give her that chance _ for just three months.

Now, police are looking for a killer who strangled Holmer, 19, cut her body in half and threw the top part in a trash bin behind a Boston apartment building. The lower half of the body hasn’t been found.

She was last seen alive early Saturday morning, leaving the trendy Zanzibar nightclub with ``an older man,″ her friends said. Another Swedish nanny who had been at the club said Holmer and the man were ``going to an after-hours party.″

``The next time I saw her was to identify her body,″ the woman, who was not identified, told The Boston Globe.

A man scavenging for cans discovered Holmer’s remains early Sunday in a black plastic trash bag behind a building not far from the club.

The killer may have been trying to cover up a sex crime, said police sources, speaking on condition of anonymity. Police would not say if the body was clothed.

Holmer had landed a job as a nanny in March with the family of Frank Rapp in Dover, a wealthy community about 15 miles outside Boston.

Rapp, 43, was questioned by police, but said he had been cleared of suspicion. ``I am definitely not a suspect,″ he told the Globe. ``My family is completely devastated.″

Police on Tuesday searched the Boston building where Rapp, a commercial photographer, had an office and Holmer spent her weekends.

And Dover police said Tuesday they were investigating a Monday night fire in a trash bin near the condominium where the Rapps live and Holmer worked.

``Because of what happened with the nanny’s torso being found in the Dumpster ... it seemed a little different, a little odd,″ said Dover Police Sgt. Jerry Adams.

Adams said three bags of evidence, including some clothing but no body parts, will be turned over to Boston police. It was not immediately clear whether the cloths belonged to Holmer or where the evidence was found.

Neighbors said they often saw Holmer playing with the first-grade boy and toddler girl she had been hired to watch.

``She was friendly,″ said Atabak Roushanaei. She would wave and say hello but ``she was very quiet. I never saw her socializing with the neighbors.″

Her father, Ola Holmer, told the Boston Herald that his daughter was ``a wonderful girl, a beautiful girl.″

Holmer had always wanted to see the world beyond Skillingaryd, about 150 miles southwest of Stockholm. She was chairman of her pony club and was a member of the Swedish equivalent of the Girl Scouts.

``Karina was a tough girl who knew what she wanted to be,″ said next-door neighbor Iris Hannson.

The scratch lottery ticket was as good as a ticket to America, giving her spending money to socialize, friends said. But friends said the young woman had already decided to return to Sweden in August because she was homesick.

Generally, young foreigners seeking work as nannies are brought over on special visas and trained in child care and safety by a licensed agency.

``A lot come from small towns in Europe where it’s safe to walk around,″ said David Fougere, vice president of one of the largest firms, Educational Foundation of Cambridge.

Holmer reportedly came to America through an unlicensed Swedish agent, Tage Sundin, who has twice been convicted and fined in Sweden for operating without a permit.

``I personally take responsibility for Karina’s death,″ Sundin told the Swedish tabloid Expressen.

Fougere said his clients have sought counseling because of the slaying. ``There is a lot of concern out there among our au pairs,″ he said.

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