Teenager suspected of murdering businesswoman

  • 2005-02-23
  • By TBT staff
RIGA - Police detained a 15-year-old boy for allegedly murdering Laima Priedite, a marketing executive at Aldaris, Latvia's largest brewery.
The 29-year-old Priedite was found dead at 2 a.m. on Feb. 13, while her car was uncovered in a ditch 3 's 4 kilometers away in a ditch off the Tukums-Zante highway in western Latvia. She had reportedly been on her way home to Zante before stopping to see a friend in Tukums.

The assailants stabbed Priedite approximately 10 times. Bloodstains found on the steering wheel suggest that the woman was most likely murdered in a company owned Volvo, police said.

Police spokeswoman Sintija Kajina confirmed that, as of now, both the boy and his mother were being held in connection with the murder. While the 15-year-old has been charged, the exact reasons for his mother's detention were unclear.

One media reporter speculated that the woman was brought in for not reporting the crime.

Kajina added that there could have been other people involved in the murder.

Helmuts Lukacovs, head of the Tukums regional police department, told the Baltic News Service that a great amount of resources were going toward the investigation, including more than 10 detectives and experts. Riga detectives had also arrived to help.

Lukacovs told the daily newspaper Diena that the boy was held in connection with stolen items from Priedite's car. The youth has a criminal history. He stole a phone before reaching age 14, when he could be held responsible by law, and later stole a car, a case currently being examined in court.

The 15-year-old will be sent for a psychological evaluation next week. State officers are still looking for accomplices.

As is customary in Latvia, the name of the youth was not released.

If convicted, the teenager could be sentenced for up to 12 years in prison.

Priedite began working at the Aldaris brewing company last December. She previously held a position at Unilever's local subsidiary.

The president of Aldaris, Henrijs Fogels, told the LETA news agency that the brewing company was shocked. "She was a very good specialist and was held in high regard by her colleagues," Fogels said, adding that the company expressed condolences to Priedite's parents and loved ones.