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Man arrested in connection with death of young Norwegian woman whose body was found in street on Costa del Sol

Police have detained a 33-year-old alleged drug dealer on suspicion of homicide following the discovery Anne Mathea Morken's body next to a pedestrian crossing in Torremolinos in September

Juan Cano

Malaga

Friday, 8 March 2024, 13:46

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Officers have detained a 33-year-old Senegalese man, during a routine police check in Madrid, on suspicion of homicide and drug pushing along with another alleged accomplice, also in his thirties and from Senegal. The arrest follows the discovery of the body of a young Norwegian woman, Anne Mathea Morken, next to a pedestrian crossing at the entrance to the Benyamina Norte residential development in Torremolinos last September.

Morken, who was in her early twenties, had enrolled in a public school in Norway to study as a personal trainer. The first semester of classes was to held in Fuengirola, so she moved to Spain's Costa del Sol. In 2022 she dropped out of her course and began to earn a living by teleworking. On her social media she posted photos of sunsets on the beach, outings with her friends, or skiing — her favourite sport. In the photos, the young woman always appeared with a broad smile that lit up her face. She looked happy.

On 13 September 2023, at around half past one in the morning, a group of young people found Morken's body abandoned on the pavement of a street in Torremolinos. The body was next to a pedestrian crossing at the entrance to the Benyamina Norte residential development, in the upper part of Playamar. Someone had left it there and now the National Police believe they may have solved the case with one person being taken into custody.

Adverse drug reaction

Next to the body, the officers found a bag, but there were no personal documents, so it took a few hours to identify the victim. The body showed signs of asphyxiation, but the external examination did not reveal the cause. Hours later, it was confirmed that the victim was Anne Mathea Morken and it was discovered that her death had been caused by an adverse drug reaction.

Investigators from the Specialised and Violent Crime Unit (UDEV) at Torremolinos police station began to reconstruct the life and last hours of the young woman. She was described as a cheerful, sporty and nature-loving girl who was born in Ringebu, a small village of less than 5,000 inhabitants in central Norway. She had always been involved in sport. She studied at the upper secondary school in Gausdal and belonged to the Ringebu-Fåvang ski club.

Vanished

In Spain, the young woman had quickly formed a circle of friends, including some compatriots. Officers discovered that she was last seen in the early hours of 11 September in the company of two "acquaintances" in Fuengirola. Both were Senegalese, in their thirties. When they identified them, they found that they were allegedly involved in drug dealing in local leisure areas.

The UDEV police officers went to look for them at the flat they both shared in Fuengirola, but by then they had vanished. On checking travel records, they discovered that one of them had crossed to Tangiers, in northern Morocco, two days after Anne's body was found.

Investigators entered their names in all police databases with a warrant for the death of the young Norwegian woman. At the end of February, a unit of the National Police discovered one of them in Madrid – despite the fact that he was carrying false documents – during a routine check when the suspect was trying to catch a bus to Lisbon.

The suspect, aged 33, was arrested for the crimes of homicide by omission, false documentation, against road safety and against public health. His roommate, who is also believed to be an alleged perpetrator, has not yet been located.

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