Curious Case Of The Lake Bodom murders

This is Finland’s most famous cold case, a triple homicide that took place in 1960 when four teenagers went away for the weekend on a camping trip but only one returned home alive.

It was June 4th, 1960 when Maila Irmeli Björklund and Anja Tuulikki Mäki who were both 15 years old went on a camping trip with their boyfriends Seppo Antero Boisman and Nils Wilhelm Gustafsson who were both 18 years old. Nothing special happened that afternoon when they arrived at Lake Bodom but by the next morning, 3 of the teenagers would be dead.

The only survivor was Nils Wilhelm Gustafsson and he was left to tell the horrific story of what took place on the morning of June 5th, 1960. Gustafsson said that between 4 am-6 am Björklund, Mäki and Boisman were bludgeoned and stabbed to death, Gustafsson was also attacked and ended up with a concussion, fractured jaw and numerous broken bones in his face.

A group of bird watchers came across the teenagers collapsed tent at 6 am with Mäki and Boisman’s bodies inside and Björklund’s naked body and an unconscious Gustafsson were on top of the tent. The group also reported that they saw a blonde man walking away from the scene. It wasn’t until 5 hours that the bodies were discovered by Risto Siren, he alerted authorities and then the investigation began.

The investigation discovered that the teenagers were attacked blindly through the tent since the tent had numerous stab holes in it. Numerous items were missing from the campsite including the keys to the guy’s motorcycles but the motorcycles were still at the scene and Gustafsson’s shoes were found almost a kilometre from the scene.

Unfortunately, the police investigation was shoddy at best as they failed to record their findings or protect the scene and this led to some onlookers destroying the scene and stealing what they could.

The first suspect named for the murders was Karl Valdemar Gyllström, a local man who was known for being hostile towards campers. Gyllström would often cut down the campers’ tents and throw rocks at them and hikers. It was reported that Gyllström had confessed to the murders whilst drunk and sober but the police didn’t take him seriously. Nine years after the murders Gyllström drowned in Lake Bodom, reportedly by suicide.

The second suspect was a man named Hans Assmann, who was reportedly a spy for the KGB and had a reputation for being a loner. He went into the local hospital the day after the murders with dirty, black fingernails and bloodstains on his clothing. He was questioned by police after hospital staff said he was aggressive and nervous but he had an alibi for the night of the murders so nothing came of it, in fact, police never even tested his clothing to see if the blood was a match to the victims. Interestingly, Assmann was the suspect in numerous murders but he was never charged.

Then 44 years after the Lake Bodom murders finally police made an arrest. In March of 2004, Nils Wilhelm Gustafsson was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend and two friends.

During the trial the prosecution claimed that Gustafsson was the sole survivor because he was kicked out of the tent for being drunk, then a fight broke out against him and Boisman which is how Gustafsson ended up with a fractured jaw and that’s what led to him attacking and murdering Björklund, Mäki and Boisman. The prosecution also said that Gustafsson’s shoes only had blood from the victims and none of his blood.

Gustafsson’s defence attorney argued that if a fight had truly broken out between Boisman and Gustafsson then he would have been too injured to murder the three teenagers and then walk almost a kilometre away from the scene to dump his shoes and then back to the scene to stage it.

A year after Gustafsson was arrested and charged with the triple homicide, he was acquitted of all charges and released. Some people in Finland are still suspicious of Gustafsson. Still, to this day there has been no new suspects and it remains Finland‘s oldest unsolved murder.

Rest In Peace Maila Irmeli Björklund, Anja Tuulikki Mäki and Seppo Antero Boisman.

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