Emil Kári Petersson

The whole story

If you have any information about where Emil and Magðalena are, contact the police
(Swedish police, +46 77 114 14 00, or ask the nearest police station for help).

Emil Petersson lived, until late 2015, in Falköping, Sweden. His parents had joint custody and he lived with his mother, Magðalena Níelsdóttir, but visited his father multiple times each week. On November 26th, 2015, his parents were due in court for a custody hearing. Without explanation, Magðalena failed to appear; not even her lawyer was able to contact her. Since then, neither the authorities nor Emil's Swedish relatives have had any contact with either of them, and Magðalena is wanted internationally for child abduction.

The disappearance

It was during the hearing on 26 November 2015 that it became evident that Magðalena had disappeared with Emil, but there were signs earlier on that she planned to run away with him. On 14 November at 12:20 a.m., Magðalena e-mailed Peter Bengtsson, Emil's father, to inform him that he would not be able to pick up Emil for a scheduled visit later that day. She wrote that she was "taking a three-week vacation" with Emil starting immediately. Magðalena wrote, further, that Peter's opinion in the matter was irrelevant.

Peter and Emil have not met or spoken since this e-mail exchange. Magðalena and Emil were seen in Magðalenas flat between the 14th and the 25th, but after the 25th, they were gone from the flat. The last contact between Peter and Magðalena was on 17th November when, via text message, she accused him of having kept secret an appointment with Emil's eye specialist.

In December 2015, Magðalena's mother sold Magðalena's Swedish flat via power of attorney. In January it emerged that Magðalena had resigned from her job at the Swedish Dental Service in Skövde and that she had given Swedish authorities her mother's address in Kópavogur as a temporary forwarding address. Two "check-ins" at different locations around Reykjavík appeared on her Facebook timeline, but were later deleted. This has all led the police and the Swedish Foreign Office to assume Magðalena has taken Emil to Iceland, but it is also possible that they are hiding in some other country, as Magðalena has relatives in Denmark, Norway, the UK, the US and Sweden, among other countries, and apart from Icelandic and Swedish also speaks English fluently.


At a new custody hearing some time later, it was ruled that Peter would have sole custody of Emil. (Magðalena was represented by a court-appointed administrator, since she hadn't responded to any contact attempts by the court. The witness which Magðalena had asked to summon before she went missing was also questioned.) Social Services had previously recommended that Magðalena get extensive visitation rights, but since her whereabouts were unknown, the court was unable to make any informed judgement on the issue. However, this means that should Magðalena request visitation rights in the future, she would have the support of both the court and Social Services. Peter has also stated that he believes Emil needs to see his mother regularly.

Emil's disease

Matters are complicated somewhat by the fact that Emil suffers from a rare chronic condition, CPT 1A (about 50 cases worldwide). Briefly speaking, his body doesn't process fatty acids normally, which means, among other things, that he gets very little energy from dietary fat and that he can't break down the fat stored in his tissues when he is hungry (like healthy bodies do, which allows the rest of us to get by for extended periods without eating). Treatment is mainly through a low-fat diet supplemented with short-chain fatty acids, and very regular meals, so that he never runs out of energy (which would be dangerous for him). Small children with CPT 1A also need to be fed during the night, so Emil has had a nasal feeding tube through which he could be fed while sleeping or if he won't eat enough on his own.

It is also crucial that Emil gets medical attention if he has a very high temperature or can't keep his food down, and he needs to avoid some types of medication. Back in Sweden, he would regularly see specialists at Drottning Silvias barn- och ungdomssjukhus (DSBUS), the children's hospital in Gothenburg; and other hospitals he visited would inform and consult with DSBUS. He also had a pediatrician in Iceland, who in turn had contact with his Swedish specialists.

According to his specialists, Emil's condition does not stop him from going to preschool or school like other children, as long as school staff are informed by his doctors about his condition and its treatment.

Despite the need for regular check-ups and hospital visits, no hospital that the police or his daddy, Peter, have spoken to has seen Emil since November 2015, and Emil's specialists in Gothenburg haven't heard any mention of him. This means that either Magðalena has had him see doctors under a false name, that he has visited an institution not yet approached, or simply that Emil has not seen a doctor at all—which could be extremely dangerous for him.

In spite of this, and although they have been gone for a long time, there are signs Emil is still alive and that there are people helping Magðalena keep him hidden. We don't know who might be involved, however, and who might be acting in good faith. (No relatives are as yet suspected of any crime.)

Please note

Magðalena is still formally registered at her old Swedish address. (Swedish and Icelandic national registration authorities have had her under investigation, but the old adress remains so far.) The flat in question has been sold and the people who live there now are completely unrelated!

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Supporting documents and evidence

Are you sceptical? Good! Critical thinking is not only reasonable but necessary.

Here's a collection of most relevant documents and links to support our story. Should you like to control the veracity of documents yourself, you could, for instance, order court files straight from the court. Contact details for the district court of Skaraborg may be found at skaraborgstingsratt.domstol.se. Some other information can also be found in open directories, due to Sweden's principle of public access.

Please note that many of the following documents are in Swedish, as is of course hard to avoid with a legal and criminal case investigated in Sweden. We don't have any formal translations of the documents, but you're welcome to ask us for help with translations or if you need text versions to plug into, say, Google Translate.

Arrest warrant

On 31 March 2016, a warrant was issued for Magðalena Níelsdóttir's arrest on suspicion of aggravated arbitrary handling of a child.

The crime classification "arbitrary handling of a child" ("egenmäktighet med barn" in Swedish) is defined in Chapter 7, paragraph 4 of the Swedish Criminal Code (link in Swedish) and is applicable when someone who does not have sole custody of a child separates that child, without good reason, from one or both of its custodians without a custodian's permission, or alternatively keeps the child with them without a custodian's permission. It can be committed by a person who does not have custody of the child, or one who has joint custody; and the person may have had permission to take the child from the (other) custodian but kept it with them for too long, for example by refusing court-ordered visitation. The crime is considered aggravated if, for instance, the child is taken or held abroad, if the child is held for a long time, or if the abductor appears to plan not to return. Aggravated arbitrary handling of a child can lead to prison from 6 months to 4 years.


Custody of Emil Petersson was, on 11 May 2016, granted solely to Peter Bengtsson, his father. The ruling was backed by Social Services. Before the ruling, Emil's parents had joint custody and Emil lived with his mother, Magðalena Níelsdóttir.

Emil's condition

Most conflicts after Magðalena and Peter's separation can be roughly summarized as "Peter wants to see Emil more; Magðalena believes Peter doesn't understand/respect Emil's disease/fundamental needs, and opposes Peter's requests."

There is no basis for Magðalena's stance—in fact there is lots of evidence that Peter does have insight into how Emil's condition works and how to care for him in the best way possible—but Magðalena's worries have still influenced authorities, as they have understandably preferred to be safe rather than sorry. You can read more about how Emil's condition affects him and the conflict on this page.

All court documents

Presiding court is the district court of Skaraborg unless otherwise noted. Some personal information has been redacted in the linked documents. Records not linked here may be requested from the courts by mentioning the case number. Many other relevant case files which are not listed here can also be requested due to Sweden's principle of public access.

Obviously, the absolute majority (if not all) of court documents will be in Swedish.

Social Services

What follows is excerpts only. Social Services enquiries are confidential, and necessarily contain a large amount of very personal information. Because of this, only relevant portions are included here. Contact us (Peter and his partner) if you want to know more, and we can decide how much we want to share.

Enquiries were made by Socialtjänsten (Social Services) in the municipality of Falköping and are available in this file. The file contains:

  • Excerpt from the custody and visitation enquiry submitted to the district court of Skaraborg on 20 August 2015
  • Excerpt from the report to Social Services from Skaraborg Hospital in Skövde, 3 September 2014
  • Excerpt from the enquiry started after an anonymous report, ended 3 July 2014


  • Magðalena's address change. In the records from the main hearing in case T3338-14 and the detainment hearing in case B1093-16, it is clear that Magðalena has given Swedish authorities an Icelandic address. (Postal addresses in court documents are always taken from the Swedish national registration, and in these cases Magðalena's listed address is Icelandic.) The information can also be found using web sites which allow national registration searches; for example upplysning.se, and Icelandic equivalents, like ja.is.
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Frequently asked questions

  • Is this a custody dispute?
  • Is this trustworthy?
  • Are the police involved?
  • Why did Magðalena run away with Emil?
  • Where are they?
  • Has anyone checked official address records (folkbokföringen, Þjóðskrá, etc)?
  • Will things be better for Emil if he is found?
  • Will Emil lose contact with his mother if he is found?
  • What's the purpose of this web site, and what does Peter and his family hope it will achieve?
  • Who is behind this site?

Is this a custody dispute?

No. Abducting one's child like Magðalena did is a crime which can lead to a prison sentence. Magðalena is wanted in multiple countries for a crime called aggravated arbitrary handling of a child ("grov egenmäktighet med barn" in Swedish). There was a custody dispute, but that was a completely separate process which was ended, after a number of enquiries, statements from doctors and court hearings, when Emil's daddy Peter got sole custody.

Is this trustworthy?

There is a whole page of documentation. There you'll find a number of relevant documents for immediate download and case numbers for all relevant court cases. You can use the case numbers to get direct access to the case files from the Swedish courts (anyone—Swedish and foreign citizens alike—can request court documents free of charge by simply sending the court an e-mail). In this way, you can see for yourself that what we say is true.

Furthermore, you don't need to tell us anything you may know about Emil or Magðalena—if you have information please instead call the police. The police have all the information about the case and can decide what's best for Emil; for instance, they won't share anything with us unless they think it's warranted.

Should you want any further information or documentation, you're welcome to contact Peter and his partner. There are documents that we don't want to put online, but that we're okay with sharing privately.

(Note that much of the documentation is in Swedish—this is of course hard to avoid with a legal and criminal case investigated in Sweden! We don't have any formal translations of the documents, but you're welcome to ask us for help with translations or if you need text versions to plug into, say, Google Translate.)

Are the police involved?

Yes. Swedish police are investigating Magðalena for aggravated arbitrary handling of a child ("grov egenmäktighet med barn" in Swedish) and on 31 March 2016, they issued a warrant for her arrest. There is an open Hague Convention international child abduction case with the Swedish Foreign Office.

Why did Magðalena run away with Emil?

This is of course hard to know for sure since we can't ask her, but considering things she said and did before, it's possible to make an educated guess.

Ever since the separation (actually since Emil got his diagnosis), Magðalena has had an attitude to the effect that only she is able to care for Emil. She said explicitly that Emil would be in danger if Peter took care of him, refused to let Emil attend preschool since she believed the staff weren't able to care for him and has opposed all Peter's and Peter's family's attempts to spend more time with Emil.

There is no real basis for her stance; in fact there's solid evidence to the contrary (for example, Emil's doctors believe that both Peter and Magðalena are well-informed about Emil's needs; for more examples see the page about Emil's condition), but she has been very convinced, to the point that she focused on the disease at the cost of everything else—she said her goal was for Emil to survive his childhood, but appeared (according to Social Services) not to understand many of his other needs.

One possibility is that her fear when Emil was diagnosed "spilled over" into a belief that she alone understood what was best for him. At this point, Emil had been ill for weeks, so it's easy to understand how the situation was taxing for a parent. She has stated that she was very afraid and thought Emil was going to die, and that many times since then she has been afraid to lose him in, for instance, a sudden metabolic crisis.

Perhaps when she realised she stood to lose custody, she might have panicked and believed that Emil was going to die and that she didn't have a choice.

It's worth noting that it's possible to avoid prosecution for arbitrary handling of a child (the crime of which Magðalena is suspected) if one has notable reason to commit the act. However, it isn't enough to believe oneself to have notable reason, there must also be some reasonable basis for believing so. Everyone who abducts their child probably thinks they have good reasons, so the abductor's opinion can't in itself be a basis to avoid prosecution.

Where are they?

We don't know exactly where Emil and Magðalena are. The police and the Swedish Foreign Office work under the assumption that she is keeping them hidden in Iceland, since she grew up and has most of her family there and since she posted two "check-ins" in the Reykjavík area to her Facebook account in connection with their disappearance. Her mother, who lived with Magðalena in Sweden for two years and helped raise Emil, is also reported to have said she "doesn't need to go to Sweden any more" after moving back to Iceland in December 2015. They aren't confirmed to be in Iceland, however, and might also be in the US, the UK, Sweden, Denmark or some other country.

What we know for sure is that Magðalena no longer lives at her officially registered address in Sweden (that flat was sold around January 2016), and probably not at the address she has given to Swedish authorities as a temporary forwarding address, as police have not been able to find her there.

Has anyone checked official address records (folkbokföringen, Þjóðskrá, etc)?

Yes, fruitlessly. Neither at Magðalena's formal address of residence in Falköping, Sweden (registered with Swedish folkbokföringen) nor at her forwarding address in Kópavogur, Iceland (registered with both Swedish authorities and Iceland's Þjóðskrá) has anyone found them. At the Swedish address lives an unrelated person (the flat was sold soon after the disappearance), and the Icelandic one has been checked by both police and private investigator.

The fact that Icelandic records state Magðalena is a dentist is unfortunately also unhelpful—she has a degree in dentistry, but that does not mean she practices as one now.

Will things be better for Emil if he is found?

We hope so. Peter, his family and all involved authorities want Emil to see his mum frequently when he returns. This means that while he's currently only able to see half his family, and is completely deprived of contact with one of his parents, Peter wants to encourage him to have close contact with both of his parents and all of his relatives, as far as at all possible.

He will also have access to better health care and follow-ups than he has now that he's staying hidden. Living in hiding, he can't have check-ups with his specialists, which he needs to make sure he's growing and developing properly. It should also be difficult to give him necessary emergency care (which he needs quite often because of his condition) while his whereabouts are kept secret, and he doesn't have a dietician who can give updated advice on his diet when he grows, so he could be accidentally exposed to the risk of starvation unless Magðalena makes a good guess on how many calories he needs now, for example.

Finally, Emil currently risks not being able to go to school, at least not under his real name. If he comes home he could start school and meet other children—in fact, the municipality of Falköping has already reserved a place for him at a local school, in case he comes back in time.

Will Emil lose contact with his mother if he is found?

Not if Peter has any say in the matter! Both the court, Social Services and Peter himself have said they want Emil and Magðalena to be in close contact and that Emil needs to be able to see all his relatives now and then, including those in Iceland. Social Services even suggested visiting hours every other Wednesday–Sunday. The court was unable to judge on visitation hours when it was last discussed, however, since Magðalena's whereabouts were by then unknown.

One possibility if Magðalena and Emil are found is to use custody support when they meet, to stop Emil from being abducted again. If Magðalena were to move far away from Peter, she and Emil could have contact via video call, for example, during periods when they can't meet in person.

Either way, Peter is convinced that Emil needs contact with both of his parents. The only one who has so far tried to stop that is Magðalena.

What's the purpose of this web site, and what does Peter and his family hope it will achieve?

First of all we want to find Emil, of course, and we believe that the more people know that he is missing, the greater the chance someone will spot him.

Secondly, we understand how hard it is to accept that a parent would do something like this. It might be easy to think "where there's smoke, there's fire" or wonder what isn't being said. That's why we want to present as much information as we can, so that anyone can control themselves that what we say is true, and we want to be open with what's going on and show that we have nothing to hide, that we only want to find Emil.

All that we, Peter and his partner, want is to have a normal, functioning family. We want to give Emil a decent childhood where he doesn't have to hide, where he can meet both his parents, go to school like other children and get the best possible treatment for his condition. We don't want to wait and wonder, for the rest of our lives, whether Emil is still alive and what has become of him, and we don't want him to have to wonder what happened to us or believe that his daddy has abandoned him. He deserves so much better.

Who is behind this site?

Peter Bengtsson, Emil's father and sole custodian, and his partner Erika. You can read more on the page about us.

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Emil's condition, CPT 1A

Emil suffers from a rare chronic condition, CPT 1A. Most conflicts after Magðalena and Peter's separation can be roughly summarized as "Peter wants to see Emil more; Magðalena believes Peter doesn't understand Emil's disease and opposes Peter's requests."

For a long time, Social Services and the court were conservative in granting Peter visitation rights, since Magðalena didn't trust Peter to be competent. There's no obvious basis for her worries (actually there's evidence to the contrary), but because of how dangerous it would have been for Emil if she had been right, authorities went for "safe rather than sorry" and listened to her.

About CPT 1A

CPT 1A, or Carnitine palmitoyl transferase deficiency type 1A, is a rare (about 50 cases worldwide) metabolic disease which, in short, means Emil's body doesn't process fatty acids normally, implying, among other things, that he gets very little energy from dietary fat and that he can't break down the fat stored in his tissues when he is hungry (which allows the rest of us to get by for extended periods without eating). Treatment is mainly through a low-fat diet and regular meals, so that he never runs out of energy and ends up in a metabolic crisis (essentially starvation). Small children with CPT 1A also need to be fed during the night, so Emil has had a nasal feeding tube through which he could be fed while sleeping or if he won't eat enough on his own.

In Emil's diet, regular long-chain fat must make up no more than 20% of the total energy content (i.e. not 20% fat by weight or volume, but 20% of the calories). It's recommended to supplement this with special shorter-chain fatty acids (MCT) which are metabolised differently, and which therefore work for Emil. In practice he can eat most vegetables, some meats, low-fat milk, pasta and grains, among other things, without problem, and most other foods in limited amounts. It's not a question of completely avoiding certain foods, but of restricting the total fat content.

It is also crucial that Emil gets medical attention if he has a very high temperature or can't keep his food down, and he needs to avoid some types of medication. Back in Sweden, he would regularly see specialists at Drottning Silvias barn- och ungdomssjukhus (DSBUS), the children's hospital in Gothenburg; and other hospitals he visited would inform and consult with DSBUS. He also had a pediatrician in Iceland, who in turn had contact with his Swedish specialists.

According to his specialists, Emil's condition does not stop him from going to preschool or school like other children, as long as school staff are informed by his doctors about his condition and its treatment. Doctors have even recommended that he goes to preschool.

Magðalena's concerns

For a long time, Magðalena has claimed that Peter doesn't know how to take care of Emil, and that Emil would be harmed if he was with Peter. In fact, she has acted as if she (and her mother) are the only ones who can take care of Emil at all; Peter's mother (who was a doctor) and Emil's preschool were both, according to her, unfit. Relatives of Magðalena's have even told the police that if Emil wasn't with Magðalena, he would die.

That CPT 1A is so uncommon has probably contributed to the authorities' caution; there are relatively few people who understand the disease and most people who have dealt with Emil's case likely hadn't heard of it before they met Emil.

The immediate counter-argument is that for two years (Dec 2013—Oct 2015), Emil visited Peter for 8 hours a day, 2-3 times a week; at the same time his doctors wrote that he needed to eat every four (later, every five) hours in order not to take harm. At all routine check-ups, Emil was established to grow and develop well, which indicates that his fundamental needs were met by both of his parents. When questioned in court, Emil's specialist indicated that Peter has a good knowledge about Emil's needs—the doctor saw no problems at all with Peter's competence. (Peter's testimony also happens to be very similar to the doctor's regarding CPT 1A, even though the doctor was questioned after Peter.)

Magðalena also stated that Emil tended to have a high temperature and be tired when he returned from Peter. Tiredness could be a sign he didn't get enough food, but it could also be a sign that he has simply had an exciting day (preschool children are often tired when they come home, for example; and again, if he regularly got too little food he would certainly not have developed normally). A high temperature, however, is not a typical symtom of metabolic crisis, and most times Magðalena took Emil to the hospital right after visiting Peter, the hospitals found his temperature to be normal. And, of course, a common fever can't be blamed on a parent.

In 2015, Social Services caseworkers pointed out that Emil's parents' lack of communication about his health, when he had last eaten, and so forth, might put him in danger. They found that Magðalena had even tried to actively keep important information secret from Peter (by, for instance, going to a different hospital, not letting him know about illnesses and hospital visits, and straight-out trying to stop Peter from taking Emil to the hospital himself). However, no-one has doubted Magðalena's ability to meet Emil's fundamental needs when he is with her.

Documents and more info

On the disease and its treatment:
On Magðalena's position:
The court hearing and Emil's doctor's testimony:
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Facebook posts

Feel free to share our posts about Emil on Facebook. The notice exists in Swedish and English and as a shorter summary in Icelandic. Make sure to select an appropriate privacy setting for your share, so that your post is visible to as many or as few people as you want.

Many people are, for good reason, sceptical of this kind of Facebook post, but you can always direct people to this site for more information, should they ask.

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It's hard to keep track of everything that happens when a relationship between parents breaks so badly that one decides to hide the child from the other.

Here is a more-or-less chronological overview of the events that led up to (and followed) Emil's disappearance.

(You can scroll right and left in the timeline using the scroll wheel or the large right/left arrows. Where the markers are clustered close together, you can navigate between them using the forward and back buttons in the "speech bubbles.")

November 2012

Peter and Magðalena split up. (Emil is about 1,5 years old.)

May 2013

Magðalena and Emil return to Sweden from a visit to Iceland (Peter never learns exactly when they left Sweden). Magðalena's mother seems to have come with them to Sweden; she moves in with Magðalena in Falköping and stays until December 2015.

14 May 2013

Preparatory hearing in case T428-13, district court of Skaraborg. Peter requests visitation rights so that he can see Emil, Magðalena requests sole custody or alternatively that Peter is denied access rights. The court makes an interim judgement on visitation hours. Custody remains joint.

Magðalena appeals the ruling (case Ö1564-13) but is refused.

During the hearing, Peter learns that Magðalena has just returned from Iceland with Emil.

11 June 2013

Peter petitions the district court to enforce the visitation rights ruling since Magðalena has not allowed him to see Emil (case Ä1949-13). The court appoints a mediator and after some discussion, Peter and Magðalena agree on somewhat modified visitation hours, which proceed to work mostly fine. On June 26th, Peter and Emil first meet again.

12 December 2013

Main hearing in case T428-13. Magðalena has new counsel after alleging her previous counsel did not have her or Emil's interests at heart. Social Services recommends that custody remains joint and that Emil gains the right to visit his father Mondays, Wednesdays and every other Saturday 8 am – 6 pm. They suggest visitation hours without stay-overs because Peter and Emil have spent so little time together since the separation and because the caseworkers are unsure whether Peter is informed enough about Emil's special needs.

Peter and Magðalena make an agreement that mostly follows Social Services recommendations; visitation hours will be 8-4 instead of 8-6 and Magðalena will have the right to take Emil to Iceland to visit relatives three weeks every summer, with reasonable advance notice.

January 2014

Magðalena stops telling Peter when Emil last ate when Peter picks him up (which Peter needs to know to make sure Emil eats every four hours, a requirement from his doctor) and instead instructs Peter to feed Emil with a particular dietary supplement through his feeding tube at certain times of day, every three hours. This despite doctors' instructions that Emil needs to eat more regular food. She walks away when Peter tries to tell her when Emil has eaten.

3 March 2014

Social Services receive an anonymous report from someone who claims to have seen Emil's grandmother push Peter and Peter's new partner as well as spit at Peter when he picked Emil up. A child welfare enquiry is launched. Magðalena declines to participate in the enquiry (she later says she did not have time). The enquiry is closed on 3 July with the comment that Emil risks being harmed by the conflict between his parents, and unless one of his parents acts to protect him it might be necessary to put him in foster care.

20 May 2014

Social Services receive a report from Skaraborg Hospital in Skövde after Emil's parents argue at the hospital. The informer states that it is "mainly the mother who comes with accusations and causes conflict." The report is included in the on-going enquiry from 3 March.

29 August 2014

Peter writes a couple of e-mails to Magðalena during August, asking her to agree to mediation with the help of Social Services caseworkers to solve their conflict. She doesn't reply, so he writes her a formal letter via his lawyer, where she is urged to reply within ten days. This having also been ignored, Peter petitions the district court to grant him sole custody.

3 September 2014

Social Services receive a second report from Skaraborg Hospital in Skövde; this time the hospital considered calling the police as Magðalena and her mother refused to leave Emil's room during Peter's visitation hours and conflict arose. A child welfare enquiry is carried out where both parents participate, but Magðalena's second meeting is cut short when she says the caseworkers have already made up their minds about her parenting ability, and leaves. She says the caseworkers are lying about her not having participated in the previous enquiry.

The enquiry is closed on 24 November, the warnings from the previous enquiry repeated, with the addition that foster care is not currently necessary since Peter has acted to protect Emil by applying for sole custody.

13 November 2014

Magðalena responds to Peter's summons application. She requests sole custody or alternatively that custody and visitation hours remain unchanged, and claims that Emil does not get enough food and/or drink from Peter since Emil is often tired when he comes home.

16 December 2014

Preparatory hearing in case T3338-14. Magðalena has new counsel again. Peter and Magðalena agree to mediation with the help of Social Services.

January-Feb. 2015

Peter and Magðalena have mediation talks with Social Services. They agree to write each other e-mails in connection with picking up and leaving Emil, to notify of things like when Emil has eaten and how the day has been. They don't reach any agreement on visitation or residence matters, since Magðalena will not agree to any change and Peter considers the current situation untenable.

Emil gets eyeglasses and is instructed to wear a patch over his right eye a certain number of hours per week. Magðalena asks Peter not to let Emil wear the eyepatch around other people, arguing that both feeding tube, glasses and eyepatch would make other children scared of him. She later admits that she hasn't made him wear the patch as much as the eye specialist recommended.

22 April 2015

The Skaraborg district court mandates that Social Services carry out a custody and visitation enquiry.

May 2015

Emil contracts tonsillitis and Magðalena takes him to Skaraborg Hospital in Skövde (SkaS). She doesn't tell Peter, only indicating the next time he picks up Emil that Emil needs to wear a scarf. Later that month, Emil is admitted to SkaS overnight, after which Magðalena takes him to Ryhov hospital in Jönköping, where he is admitted the following evening. Peter only hears of the tonsillitis at a planned appointment at the child health care centre and learns about the visit to Ryhov two months later.

25-27 July 2015

Saturday evening after Emil has visited Peter, Magðalena texts Peter that Emil has gone to the hospital. The following day, Peter texts to ask Magðalena how Emil is doing and whether they will stay until Monday (the next visiting day). Magðalena doesn't reply despite multiple attempts. When Peter goes to pick up Emil that Monday, no-one is home, so he calls Skaraborg Hospital in Skövde (SkaS), Emil's usual, and nearest, hospital, who haven't seen Emil in weeks. Peter calls a number of hospitals in the region, among them Ryhov hospital in Jönköping (twice as far away as Skövde counted in travel time) who confirm that Emil was admitted that Saturday night with otitis.

Peter requests Emil's medical records from Ryhov, and it emerges that Magðalena has completely stopped going to SkaS apart from for planned appointments. When Social Services ask, she replies that she just happened to be in Jönköping when Emil fell ill.

August 2015

Emil starts going to preschool a few hours per week during his visitation hours with Peter. Magðalena brings this up as a sign of neglect in her talks with Social Services, and informs the preschool that she will report the municipality to the police if they allow Emil to attend. Emil is allowed to attend anyway and no police report is made.

20 August 2015

Social Services submit their custody enquiry report. They conclude that joint custody is out of the question and recommend that Peter is granted sole custody of Emil, and that Emil will have the right to visit his mother every other Thursday—Sunday. The investigator states that there is a risk that Magðalena, if she gets sole custody, will withhold medical information from Peter or move with Emil to Iceland, since she seems to have a stronger attachment there than to Sweden. They view Peter's knowledge of Emil's special needs as more than sufficient and point out that he has frequent contact with Emil's doctors. It is stressed that Peter is the parent best equipped to meet Emil's need for contact with both of his parents, and that Peter has followed Emil's doctors' advice to put Emil in preschool.

Magðalena writes to the district court that the enquiry focuses on the wrong things, which makes her very concerned.

17 September 2015

The district court of Skaraborg summon Peter and Magðalena to the main hearing in case T3338-14 on 25 September. Magðalena asks for the hearing to be postponed as she wants more time to find witnesses and file objections to the custody enquiry. The court renames the hearing a preliminary hearing, however a scheduling conflict is discovered and the hearing is cancelled.

September 2015

An acquaintance of Peter's sees Magðalena and her mother, with Emil in tow, buying a number of large suitcases.

October-Nov. 2015

Emil has persistent otitis and most of his visits to Peter are cancelled since he is taken urgently to the hospital (Ryhov hospital in Jönköping, which Peter learns only by calling the hospital to ask). The visits are cancelled with very short notice (sometimes after Peter was supposed to have picked Emil up), so Peter doesn't have time to go to Jönköping to visit Emil. He is also afraid there would be a fight if he tried.

31 October 2015

Emil visits his daddy Peter for the last time.

13 November 2015

The last time Emil and Peter meet. Emil has an appointment with an ENT specialist at Skaraborg Hospital in Skövde. Peter meets Emil and Emil's grandmother on the train and talks to Emil for about 20 minutes. Emil seems to be feeling better, is happy to be visiting his dad tomorrow and longs to get back to preschool.

14 November 2015

At 12:20 am (twenty past midnight), Magðalena texts Peter that she is taking a three week vacation with Emil, and that the scheduled visit later that day is cancelled. As Emil and Peter have barely met in a month and the notice is almost nonexistent, Peter replies he doesn't accept that. He also states explicitly that he does not want her to take Emil out of the country. Magðalena replies that it doesn't matter what Peter thinks. When Peter goes to pick up Emil at 8 am, she doesn't open the door and won't reply to text messages.

14-20 November 2015

Peter tries to contact Magðalena and goes to her house a number of times to try to meet Emil. Sometimes the lights are on, but Magðalena doesn't respond to his attempts to contact her and won't open the door. Peter's partner sees Emil and Emil's grandmother through a window at one point; they interpret this as Magðalena not planning on going to Iceland during this "vacation".

17 November 2015

The district court of Skaraborg summons Peter and Magðalena to the main hearing in case T3338-14 on November 26th.

Magðalena texts Peter about an appointment with an eye specialist to which Emil has been invited, and asks why Peter has kept this a secret from her. Peter replies he doesn't understand, as doctors' invitations are always sent to Emil's formal address, which is with her.

25 November 2015

Magðalena's lawyer speaks to Magðalena on the phone. The lawyer suspects she does not plan to attend the hearing, and consults the presiding judge. The judge also calls Magðalena, after which she stops answering her phone.

26 November 2015

Peter appears at the district court, but Magðalena is absent. The court postpones the hearing and discusses provisionally extending Emil's and Peter's visitation hours. Magðalena's counsel is tasked with obtaining comment from her by December 8th, after which a court mediator will be appointed. Magðalena is fined for having failed to appear.

28 November 2015

Peter and his partner knock on Magðalena's door. No-one opens, but the lights are on and someone moves around in the hallway. It looks like Emil's grandmother. The flat is completely silent, indicating Emil isn't home.

1 December 2015

Magðalena's mother contacts an estate agency to sell Magðalena's flat. She indicates that Magðalena is travelling and needs to sell the flat quickly. The estate agency sends a power of attorney form to the mother's registered address in Iceland, which the mother later returns with, signed by Magðalena and witnessed by Magðalena's father and brother.

During December, Magðalena resigns from her job at the Swedish Dental Service at Södra Ryd in Skövde and gives Swedish authorities her mother's address in Kópavogur as a temporary forwarding address.

4 December 2015

Peter's partner knocks on Magðalena's door. She sees Emil's grandmother and another woman outside the building; they are on the way in but leave when they spot her. A neighbour says that Emil's aunt is visiting, but that Emil hasn't been home "for a while" (the neighbour usually hears Emil play when he is home). The neighbour says Magðalena and her mother are terrified of Peter and have told all their neighbours that he is aggressive. The neighbour thinks that Emil seems to be over-protected and says he isn't allowed to go outside much.

7 December 2015

Peter reports Magðalena to the police for arbitrary handling of a child ("child abduction" in layman's terms).

8 December 2015

Magðalena's lawyer has not been able to contact her client. The district court provisionally rules to extend Emil's and Peter's visitation hours by a stay-over Saturday—Sunday every other week. A court mediator is appointed.

8 December 2015

Magðalena posts a Facebook "check-in" at Vídalínskirkja in Garðabær in the Reykjavík area. The check-in is removed from Facebook a few days later.

20 December 2015

Magðalena posts a Facebook "check-in" at the Kringlan mall in Reykjavík. The check-in is removed a few days later.

26/27 December 2015

Peter passes by Magðalena's flat; the lights are off and the flat looks abandoned.

7 January 2016

Peter and his partner accidentally discover that Magðalena has set up a temporary forwarding address. She hasn't tried to change Emil's address, however. (Peter later contacts the authorities to change Emil's registered address to his, Peter's, address, as otherwise no-one would receive Emil's mail.)

January-Feb. 2016

The court mediator returns; he has not been able to contact Magðalena, but he has found out that she quit her job. The Foreign Office become involved and open a Hague Convention international child abduction case. Peter accidentally finds that Magðalena's flat has been up for sale.

February-March 2016

The Foreign Office and Swedish police try to contact Magðalena, via Icelandic police, mail, telephone, e-mail, Facebook message and other methods. The district court tries to serve her with a summons to a new main hearing, but their letters are returned to sender. Icelandic police visit and talk to Magðalena's mother, who says that Magðalena lives in Sweden and that she (the mother) doesn't know where Magðalena and Emil are. Police also approach other relatives in Iceland, one of whom says Magðalena's mother has told them she "won't need to go to Sweden any more".

31 March 2016

Magðalena is detained in her absence (equalling an arrest warrant) for aggravated arbitrary handling of a child; "child abduction" in layman's terms (case B1093-16).

The ruling is reported on in a local paper, Falköpings tidning.

12 April 2016

Hearing in the parties' absence in case T3338-14. Magðalena's lawyer asks to be dismissed as she has not had any further contact with her client. The request is granted and Magðalena is fined further and will pay her counsel's and Peter's counsel's expenses for the cancelled hearing in November.

11 May 2016

Main hearing in case T3338-14. Magðalena is represented by a court-appointed administrator. The court interrogates Peter and the witness which Magðalena had asked to summon (Emil's metabolic disease specialist at Drottning Silvias barn- och ungdomssjukhus, the children's hospital in Gothenburg). Peter is granted sole custody of Emil. Since Magðalena's whereabouts are unknown, the court is unable to make any informed judgement about visitation rights; however, both Peter and the court state that Emil has an obvious right to spend time with his mother, possibly with custody support to minimise the risk of another abduction.

July 2016

Peter hires a private investigator, who goes to Iceland to search for Magðalena and Emil and makes contact with Icelandic police. They try to speak to Magðalena's mother again, but she doesn't open for the police; a close relation whom the police encounter outside the mother's house tries to claim she doesn't know the mother or Magðalena, and then leaves quickly.

October-Nov. 2016

The police in Falköping get information from the estate agents about the sale of Magðalena's flat, the power of attorney and so on (Dec 2015). Her account history is requisitioned from her bank and it turns out that after the money from the flat sale was paid in, the account was emptied and abandoned.

17 November 2016

Skaraborgs allehanda, a local newspaper, reports briefly on the case: http://sla.se/skaraborg/2016/11/17/kvinna-misstankt-forde-barn

November 2016

Magðalena's Facebook account is "locked" and becomes invisible. (It is probably visible only to her friends.)

19 January 2017

Peter receives a letter with information about Emil's savings account (which Magðalena used to administer). Statements show that the account was emptied of its contents through transfers on 15 and 21 November 2015.

12-22 April 2017

Erika (Peter's partner, Emils stepmother) searches for Emil in Iceland and tries to get in touch with Magðalena's relatives. She speaks to the police, who pass her message on to the relatives they have contact with, but the relatives don't want to talk to her or Peter.

The case gains attention in Icelandic media: Fréttablaðið 19 April and Stöð 2 TV news, 20 April.

9 May 2017

Fréttablaðið writes a follow-up to their April article.

1 June 2017

A long interview with Peter and his partner about Emil's disappearance and the search for him is published in all papers owned by Västgöta-tidningar (Falköpings tidning, Skaraborgs läns tidning, Västgöta-bladet and Skövde nyheter, where it becomes front-page news).

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About us

Peter Erika

We are Peter, Emil's daddy, and Erika, Peter's partner, and we're responsible for this site.

We live in a flat in Falköping, Sweden, and work as a programmer and web developer, respectively. We met in 2013, when Emil was 2 ½ years old. Before he disappeared, we had just moved from a two-bedroom flat into a three-bedroom flat so that Emil could have his own room. (He thought having his own room was very exciting and got to choose his curtains and ceiling lamp himself.)

For Peter, the last few years have been very stressful—first he barely got to meet Emil at all after the separation, then year after year with Social Services and the court, and finally when things seemed to improve, Emil was abducted by his mother. Erika has tried to stay out of the conflict, but was hit very hard by Emil's disappearance and had to take out sick leave to cope.

Since Emil went missing, our lives have naturally revolved a lot around the search for him. We miss him every day and wonder how he's doing and whether he thinks about us. Being bereft of a child isn't something that just passes; it keeps on hurting all the time—the frustration and powerlessness of not even knowing where he is is impossible to describe. It's a balance to do everything we can to find him and simultaneously keep living our lives—the world doesn't stop turning no matter how bad things get; you have to keep functioning anyway.

Contact us

If you have a question you think we can answer, you're welcome to write to us. Tips about Magðalena's and Emil's whereabouts are best given to the police, but if you want to let us know as well you're of course welcome to do so.

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In the news

This is a list of the media coverage of Emil's disappearance, in chronological order.

Have you seen an article or broadcast about the case that isn't listed here? Please let us know!


31 March: Falköpings tidning, (Swedish) Mamma häktad i vårdnadstvist. Notice about the issuing of the arrest warrant.

17 November: Skaraborgs Allehanda (SLA), (Swedish) Kvinna misstänkt – förde barn utomlands. Brief summary of the case.


19 April: Fréttablaðið, (Icelandic) Leitar barns og móður á Íslandi með aðstoð spæjara. Interview with Erika, Emil's stepmother, while she searches for Emil in Iceland.

20 April: Stöð 2 evening news, (Icelandic) Leit að íslenskum dreng: "Viljum fá að vita að það sé í lagi með hann". Broadcast about the case and Erika's journey to Iceland. The reporter interviews Erika and the broadcast displays the address to this site.

9 May: Fréttablaðið, (Icelandic) Íslenski drengurinn enn týndur og ættingjarnir vilja ekki tala. A follow-up to the article in April, after speaking again to Erika and the Reykjavík police and trying unsuccessfully to contact some of Magðalena's relatives.

1 June: Falköpings tidning, (Swedish) Peters son försvann med sin mamma – för över ett år sedan: "Det är jättejobbigt varje dag". Long interview with Peter and Erika, also published in Skaraborgs läns tidning and Västgöta-bladet and front-page news in Skövde nyheter. Reporters also spoke to the prosecutor for a related article.

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