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Mother Says She Forgives Girl's Killers

October 19, 1994| From Reuters

OSLO — The grieving mother of a 5-year-old Norwegian girl said Tuesday that she has forgiven the boys who beat her daughter and let her freeze to death in a crime that has horrified Norway.

"I cannot hate or bear a grudge against small children," Beathe Redegaard told the daily Dagbladet. "They cannot have understood what they did. I forgive those who killed my daughter."

Silje Marie Redegaard was romping in the first snow of the winter over the weekend when her playmates attacked.

"There was violence used against the girl, blunt violence. Severe hypothermia was probably the final cause of death," said chief inspector Harald Moholt in the central seaport of Trondheim.

The tragedy dominated the front pages of all major newspapers and shocked Norway's population of 4.3 million.

Police questioned three boys, all ages 5 or 6. "Some were more active (in the attack) than others," Moholt said, declining to elaborate.

Dagbladet said the girl fell unconscious after being severely beaten and kicked and that she froze to death shortly afterward. The daily Verdens Gang said Monday that she was trampled to death in an icy puddle and hit with a stone.

Moholt said the police investigation was nearly complete and that the case would soon be handed over to local child care authorities, who will decide what to do with the boys.

Because the suspects are all younger than 15, they cannot be tried. But they may be given treatment at home or placed in an institution for a limited time.

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