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Palme Suspect Freed--Witness Can't ID Him

March 19, 1986|United Press International

STOCKHOLM — Police today released a suspect in the killing of Prime Minister Olof Palme because a witness failed to recognize him, the chief public prosecutor's office announced.

The man was set free because police could not prove he had been on a certain Stockholm street nine minutes after the killing of Palme 19 days ago, said the office of K. G. Svensson, the chief public prosecutor.

News reports said the man, a 32-year-old Swede identified in media reports as Victor Gunnarsson, left the national police headquarters under police escort this afternoon, at about the same time Stockholm Police Chief Hans Holmer was telling a news conference that his release was imminent.

Holmer, head of the investigation, said the man was being set free "because an important link in the chain of circumstantial evidence has been broken."

"We had a confrontation with a witness this afternoon and it did not yield what we had expected," Holmer said.

He said a second person under arrest for suspected illegal possession of weapons in the Palme case would also be released. It was the first mention by police of a second arrest in the killing. Police did not identify the second person.

The unexpected turn in the investigation left police without a suspect in the biggest manhunt in Swedish history. Palme was shot and killed by an unknown gunman while walking unguarded on a downtown Stockholm street on Feb. 28.

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