August 21, 1952
Tore Hedin kills 9 and himself after his fiancé left him
Hedin, a 25-year-old police officer, had previously robbed and murdered a friend in November 1951 before setting the crime scene on fire. He was assigned to the case and, unsurprisingly, was unable to catch the killer. (Pictured, Hedin quizzically examines evidence from the scene.)
In mid-1952, Hedin’s fiancé Ulla Östberg ended their engagement. Enraged, Hedin visited Östberg at her job, demanded to know why she had left him, stuffed a handkerchief in her mouth, and handcuffed her. Because of the assault, Hedin was dismissed from the force. He attempted in vain to persuade Östberg to return to him, and when she refused on numerous occasions, he turned to homicide.
On August 21, Hedin broke into the nursing home where Östberg lived and worked. He bludgeoned Östberg and the nursing home’s matron to death with an axe. As he left, he barricaded the doors and set the building on fire. Four elderly patients died at the scene while a fifth died as a result of severe burns. Ten or 12 (sources vary) other patients were saved by firefighters. Hedin also killed his parents by clubbing them as they slept and lighting their house on fire, though sources disagree as to whether they were murdered before or after the nursing home attack.
Hedin’s drowned body was found on August 22 during a manhunt. With his body was an apparent suicide note, explaining the murders were because he felt “deceived by the girl who meant everything to me.” He also stated the reason for killing his parents was to spare them the shock of reading about the murders in the newspapers, and confessed to the murder of his friend. The note ended with “This criminal case will be solved in the water,” and was signed “Tore Hedin, murderer — address unknown”.
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Today in Horror History: August 21