At a press conference at 5 pm, the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police Department announced that the Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter discovered a body this afternoon on the rocky beach by Selvogsviti light house on the south coast of Reykjanes peninsula. The body is believed to be that of Birna Brjánsdóttir. The cause of death is not yet know.
The 20-year-old Birna Brjánsdóttir has been missing since early Saturday morning, January 14. Two men are in police custody, suspected in her disappearance. They are Greenlanders, crew members of the trawler Polar Nanoq. They were arrested Wednesday onboard the trawler, after it had been turned around on its way to Greenland.
A public relations representative from ICE-SAR announced at about 3:30 pm today that the more than 500 rescue workers participating in the search for Birna today had been called to their bases in Hafnarfjörður and Grindavík, due to new leads. The search for Birna has been the most extensive in Icelandic history.
Before noon today, the police sent out a statement confirming that the result of an analysis of a biological sample from the red Kia Rio car, rented by the two suspects, had shown the sample to be from Birna. The sample had been sent to Sweden for analysis, and it was revealed that it was a blood sample. The police believe that result to confirm their suspicion that Birna was in the car at some point.
Birna’s disappearance has deeply affected the Icelandic nation.
The following was revealed at the press conference:
Birna’s body was discovered at about 1 pm today by the crew of the Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter, a short distance west of Selvogsviti light house on the south coast of Reykjanes peninsula. The helicopter landed a short distance from the site and notified police right away, who arrived shortly thereafter.
Although the body has been found, the police investigation of Birna’s disappearance is far from over. One piece of the puzzle still missing is where the red Kia Rio drove before noon on Saturday. The driver of a white car, asked by police to step forward, has not yet contacted the police department. That driver is believed to be an important witness. The white car is being sought by the police.
Birna’s body is not believed to have been thrown into the ocean from a boat. Chief Superintendent Grímur Grímsson did, however, note that the body could have been thrown into the ocean at a different location than the one where it was found.
It was revealed at the press conference that a weapon is being sought in the case, although it’s not clear what kind of weapon that would be, since the cause of death is yet to be determined. Preliminary results regarding the cause of death will be available within a few days. It’s not known whether Birna was sexually assaulted. Grímur stated that in all likelihood, she was murdered.
Grímur would not confirm whether biological samples were discovered elsewhere than in the red Kia Rio car, but noted that some items were confiscated aboard Polar Nanoq.
The two suspects are being held in isolation. Grímur stated that most likely, they do not know that the body has been found. They will be interrogated either tomorrow or Tuesday.