Cyprus Mail

Dutch woman arrested in connection with child abduction (update 2)

Marie Eleni Grimsrud

A 49-year-old Dutch woman was remanded in custody for eight days on Tuesday in connection with the abduction of four-year-old Marie Eleni Grimsrud last Thursday.

The woman was arrested on Monday evening. It followed the arrest of a 44-year-old Limassol taxi driver.

The taxi allegedly took the father and the child after she was delivered by the abductors not very far from the kindergarten. He drove them to Tseri where they were picked up by another vehicle and taken to Peristerona. From there, it is believed that they crossed into the  north.

The woman is said to be the one who arranged the taxi.

According to the taxi driver, after spending the night at the woman’s home, on the morning of April 27, he drove to Dasoupolis, near an office complex belonging to the telecoms company, CyTA.

He claimed that he was guided there by an unknown man by phone.

At the location, the taxi driver said he picked up a foreign national, about 50-years-old, and a girl, aged four or five.

He took them to a farming area in Tseri where they boarded a vehicle with tinted windows that was waiting for them.

The taxi driver said he had been paid €100 for the ride; the amount had been arranged by the Dutch woman, the court heard.

Police said the woman was arrested at around 11pm on Monday. After she was cautioned, she replied: “It is strange to me.”

Investigators said the suspect denied any involvement although she admitted knowing the taxi driver and that he had stayed at her home on April 26.

The court heard that the two went out for dinner and that she used a GPS application on one of two phones belonging to the driver to find addresses. She also spoke to an unknown person or persons in English, police said.

The woman objected to her remand, saying she lived alone in Cyprus with her 20-year-old son, whom she did not want to leave on his own.

Two of four men who had been arrested late on Thursday in connection with the kidnapping were released after the four of them appeared in court on Monday, bringing the number of persons currently in custody to four.

The girl was abducted on Thursday morning by two men outside her kindergarten in Dasoupolis. The abduction is believed to have been arranged by the girl’s father, Torkel Grimsrud, 49, who after the abduction, sent an email to Marie’s mother, Eleni Ioannou, informing her that their daughter was well and she was with him somewhere in Cyprus.

He said he would be spending a week with her before contacting his lawyers to arrange custody.

Grimsrud, a Norwegian national, is wanted by police for the abduction. Police say Grimsrud travelled to the north on April 28 and has not left.

All points of entry and exit, as well as the crossing points to the north, are being monitored.

Meanwhile, the father denied that his daughter had been taken by masked men. Speaking through his lawyers, Mette Yvonne Larsen and Morten Engesbak, the father said he took the girl from outside the kindergarten himself.

In a statement quoted by Norway’s Aftenposten, the father also said his daughter did not immediately recognise him.

Larsen suggested that the case was not handled properly by the country’s courts.

On Friday, the mother’s Cypriot lawyer Larris Vrahimis said all legal motions filed in Norway by the father in a bid to win custody had been rejected.

According to Aftenposten, the mother’s Norwegian attorney, Elsa Charlotte Gil, believes that the matter has been thoroughly and properly treated in a number of instances in Norwegian courts.


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