The Supreme courts decision, not to reopen the case may have been a difficult one considering that the overwhelming majority of Icelandic people
supported Ciesielski´s plea. According to a Gallup poll taken in june 1997 less than 5% believe that the case was properly concluded. According to state prosecutor Ragnar Hall, media coverage of the case has been "shallow" and people have been expressing extreme opinions "without sufficient knowledge" The case is a complicated one, more than 10.000 pages of records. Those who have supported Ciesielski´s plea on the other hand argue: No wonder the case is complicated. It is a complicated task to prove guilt in a double murder case considering:
So what is Ciesielski´s case about?
26. 01. 1974 Gudmundur Einarsson (18) went to a dance in Hafnarfjordur, a town 10 km.south of Reykjavik. He was seen outside the danceclub after the club closed at 2.00 a.m. Weather was cold and it was snowing. Two girls driving through the town saw Gudmundur along with an unknown man trying to get a ride. They both seemed drunk and the unknown man appeared aggressive so the girls drove on, although they knew Gudmundur. 10 minutes later 2 men driving a car saw Gudmundur walking alone on the road to Reykjavik, where he lived. They said he was drunk and fell in front of their car. Gudmundur then disappeared. Nobody has seen him since. Search parties looked for Gudmundur the following days. They found nothing and in two weeks time the search was called off. At this point in time there was no indication of foul play.
19.11.1974 Geirfinnur Einarsson (33 year old payloader operator living in Keflavik 50 km. south of Reykjavik, not related to Gudmundur Einarsson) came home from work. A fellow worker came for a visit and asked him to come along and see a movie. Geirfinnur said he could not, he was to meet someone that night. The fellow worker then drove him to the harbour café. Geirfinnur went into the café, bought cigarettes for his wife and went home again. The phone rang, Geirfinnur answered: "Ive been there already" he said, and then: "I´ll be there". Then he went out again, got into his own car and drove down towards the harbour café, but parked the car out of sight about 300 m. from the shop. Noone has seen Geirfinnur since. At the exact time of the phonecall, at 10.07 p.m. an unknown Icelandic speaking man made a phonecall from the harbour café. Three women working in the café saw that man and described him. Drawings were made, also a clay statue, and a nationwide search for this man was launched. This was to be the beginning of the biggest "murder" investigation in the history of the country. "I have the murderers name on my desk" was a headline in a newspaper in dec.1974, quoted from the chief of the investigation. It turned out what he ment was, he had the names of all 220.000 Icelanders on the table.
These missing persons investigations gradually faded out as unsolved mysteries. The case of Geirfinnur Einarsson however lived on as a source of theories and rumours. At home, Geirfinnur had a small device for distilling alcohol. Although the equipment was not big enough for other than personal use, this fact soon became the centerpoint of the police investigation. This investigation didn´t lead to anything, but strong rumour emerged that Geirfinnur was involved in some kind of illegal alcohol business. Another target of that rumour was Magnus Leopoldsson, manager of one of the most popular discos in Reykjavik called Klubburinn- "the club". Undeniably there was a strong resemblance between the clay statue and mr. Leopoldsson. As the rumours got stronger , and adversely affected Leopoldsson´s business, he sent a letter to the head of police in Reykjavik, demanding an official investigation to have his name cleared. He was interviewed by police and set free. Officially his name was cleared, but rumours carried on. The extensive investigation of the "Geirfinn" case was closed and had led to nothing. On december 12. 1975 Saevar Ciecielski and his girlfriend Erla Bolladóttir, both 20 years old, were arrested for cheating money out of the Icelandic national telephone company. The scheme was a simple one but a substantial amount of money was involved: around 10.000 dollars.
Saevar Ciesielski had been involved in drug trafficking, he had tried to smuggle 3 kg of hashish in 1975. The the hashish was found in a car belonging to Gudjon Skarphedinsson. Ciesielski´s girlfriend had a 10 week old baby when they were arrested. For some unknown reason (does not appear in the 10.000 pages of case files) they were interrogated about an assault on a young man (Gudmundur Einarsson) allegedly having taken place in Erla Bolladottir´s home in Hafnarfjordur late january 1974, almost two years earlier.
These interrogations went on for one week (acording to the prison diary) before any records were made. Some prison guards have later stated that in this period Ciesielski suffered harsh and inhumane treatment in many ways. He was deprived of sleep, his head held under water in a sink till almost suffocated, he was threatened in many ways and beaten. Erla, on the other hand, claims that she was informed that she would never again see her baby if she would not give a statement about the alleged assault on Gudmundur Einarsson in her home 2 years earlier. She also claims that the interrogators provided her with the information on who was there, and what had happened. All she had to do was to admit having witnessed the incident. Until this time, the disappearence of Gudmundur Einarsson had not been investigated as a criminal case. Since 1945 there had been 37 missing person cases in Iceland. This was to be the first one to be "cracked".
A couple of days before christmas Erla gave her first statement and said she had come home late that night, (26. 01.1974) and seen Saevar Ciesielski along with 3 other men: Albert Klahn Skaftason, Tryggvi Runar Leifsson and Kristjan Vidar Vidarsson, carrying something in a bag. "Could have been a body". Having given her statement she was immediately set free to celebrate christmas with her baby. Albert Klahn and the other two men were arrested on 23. dec. 1974. After some interrogations Albert Klahn gave his first statement. He said that Saevar Ciesielski had called him up from Erla´s house after the three other men had murdered Gudmundur Einarsson. Saevar offered him some cannabis in return for driving to Erla´s place to transport the body. Albert described the whole process in detail. Since Albert did not have a car he used his father´s car, a Toyota station wagon. His statement included meticulous descriptions of how he backed the car to the house, rear end facing the door and in the red glow of the brakelight he could see the 3 men carrying a big plastic bag , apparently containing "something heavy". The 3 men opened the rear door of the Toyota, put the bag inside, and entered the car. They then drove through town and turned south, passing an aluminum factory. Then they turned right and took a narrow road into a wilderness of lava. They drove for a few minutes, then stopped and the 3 men took the bag out of the car, carried it away and came back without the bag.
It soon became obvious that something in Albert´s statement was not right. On the 26. of january, the telephone at Erla´s place had been closed. With no public phone in the neighbourhood, Saevar could not have called Albert, if Saevar was to have been there. Albert´s father had not bought the Toyota station wagon until late summer of 1974. At the time of Gudmundur Einarsson´s disappearence, the only car he had was a 1957 Volkswagen "beetle". A 17 year old car. The Volkswagen has the engine in the rear and the trunk in the front, so the whole scenario had to have been quite different.
All this became apparent in the next couple of weeks, and Albert changed the scenario accordingly. However it was not until long after the case was concluded in the supreme court in 1980 that questions were raised about a substantial fact: A rescue squad´s report, dated 29. jan.1974, concerning the search for Gudmundur Einarsson included these lines: "We could not search the area south of the aluminum factory because the whole area is under a 60 cm thick layer of snow." Recent inquiry made by Ciesielski´s Lawyer Ragnar Adalsteinsson revealed that driving conditions in and around Erla´s hometown Hafnarfjordur were bad, and it would have been impossible to drive a car like Albert´s fathers Volkswagen in the area. Even professional taxi drivers had quit driving that night because of the snow. The Volkswagen was not modified at all for such a task.
In january 1976 the people incarcerated were also questioned about the case of Geirfinnur Einarsson. As in the prior case, it was Erla who gave the first statements. She said that Saevar Ciesielski had sometime said he knew everything about the disappearence of Geirfinnur. On the 26th of january 1976 four other men were arrested. The incarcerated people had all in stated independently that these men had killed Geirfinnur in Keflavik on the 19th of nov.1974. These four "new" men were all well known and established people in the icelandic community, not at all "hippies" like the others.
One of them was the afore mentioned Magnus Leopoldsson, manager of the disco "Klubburinn". Another was Erla´s half brother Einar Bollason, a well respected schoolteacher and former basketball star with the Icelandic international team. These men were held in custody for 105 days. At first none of them had sufficient alibies but they confessed to nothing and were released when yet another "bomb" was thrown into the investigation on the 6th of may 1976. On that date Erla Bolladottir made a statement that she herself had killed Geirfinnur Einarsson with a shotgun. She had been set free after her statement that Saevar Ciesielski knew "everything" about the case, but now she was put in solitory confinement for further questioning. At this point in time the case had the whole nation and the media absoloutely flabbergasted.
The public opinion was that never in the history of the "saga" nation had such cunning, baffling criminals emerged. Not only had they apparently killed these two men, but also ruthlessly conspired to involve the four innocent individuals that now had been set free. And Erla had even lied to involve her own brother. (Also her statement had led to their release when she claimed to have herself coldbloodedly executed Geirfinnur) the public opinion was that the case was obviously getting nowhere, and was far to difficult for the Icelandic police. This seemed to be a new generation of criminals, not at all comparable to anything before known. Was this the drug generation, Iceland´s answer to Charlie Manson and Baader Meinhof ?
In the summer 1976 Icelands ambassador attended a Nato meeting in Athens Greece. There he met with Dr. Sigfried Frölich, chief of staff in the West-German federal department of the interior. They discussed the situation and Frölich offered assistance. The assistance came to Iceland in august 1976 in the shape of the famous retired criminal expert and former chief of secret police, Abteilungspräsident a.D. Karl Shütz aka "Kommizar Kugelblitz". Shütz had among other things exposed a great espionage scandal in the Willy Brandt administration and had much experience in dealing with terrorist groups like the Baader Meinhof in Germany.
At first , Shütz tried to crack the case using German high tech methods.
The crime scene at Erla´s home was investigated using the best technical resources. Carpets and other material from the apartment were sent to the world famous crime lab in Wiesbaden West Germany. So too were carpets from the cars allegedly used to transport the bodies. Since the scene of the crime was known, i.e. Erla´s apartment,and the vehicles used for transporting the bodies were also known, there would likely be some forensic evidence to be found: Blood, hair, skin residue, saliva, fingerprints of the victims, or other hard evidence that the missing persons had ever been there.
As this endeavor did not support the case at all, Shütz concentrated on the testimonies of the accused. The process was a long one, slow and difficult for many reasons, one of them being that Shütz did not speak Icelandic and none of the accused spoke German. Furthermore none of the accused could be categorized as "strong" witnesses against each other. Something was missing. So on the 12th of november 1976 a new witness/participant emerged in the case of Geirfinnur. Gudjon Skarphedinsson was about 15 years older than the others and an educaded man, although he had had some mental problems for some years before. However, Skarphedinsson was considered to be a much more reliable person than the other accused people, and in Shütz´s own words he was the first reliable witness in the case. When he was arrested in November 1976, the others had been interrogated since december 1974 without mentioning his name.
When this enormous investigation finished in february 1977
Saevar Ciesielski had been kept in solitory confinement for 106 weeks running in a cell about 6 square meters under admittedly very harsh conditions. Still neither he nor anyone else of the accused did (could?) answer the vital question:
Where are the bodies?