Series of murders investigated in Lithuania

  • 2000-04-20
KAUNAS, Lithuania (BNS) -Lithuanian law-enforcement officials have found three bodies in a mysterious series of murders on April 12 and are looking for one more body.

The bodies of three males, between the ages of 25 and 31 and belonging to one gang, were found with numerous bullet wounds, buried or in wells in the same location outside Kaunas in central Lithuania.

Another member of the gang, a 27-year-old resident from Kaunas district, was brought to the hospital April 14 with a number of gunshot wounds.

In his initial statement, he said he had been attacked near his home. It is believed he has agreed to cooperate with the police to help in finding the remaining bodies.

The four killed or wounded men are connected to the kidnapping of two Croatian citizens in Lithuania in 1998. They were later freed from a Kaunas apartment by a special police force.

The two Croatian nationals introduced themselves as a police officer and a businessman and told Lithuanian authorities that they had been attacked and kidnapped near Klaipeda, western Lithuania, and held for a ransom of $100,000.

As the evidence given by the two foreign nationals seemed suspicious, and they were reluctant to cooperate in the investigation, the Lithuanian law enforcement came up with a version that the two Croatians were dealing drugs and were deceived by their partners in Lithuania and Belarus. Therefore, Lithuanian authorities believe that the Kaunas murders are a revenge for those actions.

Head prosecutor of the Kaunas area prosecutor's office, Gintaras Jasaitis, said the officials are investigating about 10 different versions of the crime, but refused further comment.