Netflix’s Norwegian crime thriller drama series “The Lorenskog Disappearance” is a dramatized semi-fictional retelling of a high-profile case that shook Norway in 2018. Following the abduction of a billionaire’s wife from their own house, the Norwegian police looked into various leads and theories to try and solve the already convoluted case. What “The Lorenskog Disappearance” does is that it brings us close to the characters on both sides of the case, and it provides an entertaining watch with an air of mystery still intact since the case still remains open in reality.
Who Was Anne, And What Exactly Was The Case?
One morning in October of 2018, Norwegian billionaire Tom Hagen left his mansion in Lorenskog, an area near Oslo, on his regular visit to his office at the Futurum business park. Throughout the morning, he tried calling his wife, Anne-Elisabeth Hagen, as was also their regular routine, but he received no response from her on several attempts. At around 1:30 in the afternoon, he returned home, stressed about his wife’s health, and shockingly found Anne nowhere inside the house. Clear signs of a struggle in the house and a letter left behind made it very clear what had happened—Anne had been kidnapped by someone from her own house. Tom immediately contacted the police, and the authorities responded quickly, coming down to the place and starting their investigation. However, the biggest challenge was the contents of the letter left behind; in it, the abductors threatened to harm or even kill Anne if Tom and his family contacted the police or the media. Their demand was that Tom transfers them a ransom of 9 million euros paid with the Monero cryptocurrency in order to get his wife back. But the kidnappers also mentioned directly that they had been keeping their eyes on the family for quite some time now and would therefore know immediately if they contacted the police and press. In that case, they coldly mention, they would choose their personal safety over the money and escape after killing Anne.
With these threats from the kidnappers and the fact that Tom Hagen was a high-profile businessman with renowned ventures in electricity and property development, the police had to tread carefully and decided to keep the case to themselves. The investigative team, headed by Jorunn Lakke, has to figure out indirect and roundabout ways of asking neighbors and locals for any leads, since they do not want anybody to know that Anne is missing. But nothing worthwhile can be found, and they also extensively talk to Anne’s family. It is now that one piece of information sticks out, when Tom claims that for days before the incident, and especially on the night just before it, he had a feeling that someone was stalking him and watching him secretly. Things also don’t seem to match up when traces of blood are found inside the house that had been tried to be wiped clean, but there was no such effort to clean the struggle marks or signs of the woman being dragged away. With all these confusing clues and the media gradually getting a whiff of the whole scene, the Norwegian police find themselves in a race against time and the kidnappers, trying to find Anne-Elisabeth Hagen alive.
How Did Suspicions Turn Against Tom Hagen?
When the police first started to investigate the case, one of their initial plans was to get the Hagen family to communicate with the kidnappers. They came up with a code to talk with the kidnappers via Bitcoin, but the family refused to go ahead with the plan, saying that the kidnappers knew very well that nobody in the family was so well-versed with modern technology and would immediately understand that they were taking outside help. But without this lead, there was no way forward for the police, and so Jorunn ordered their tech expert to message the kidnappers on the family’s behalf and later lied that it had happened mistakenly. Her plan was to track down the reply to this message and find the perpetrator, but a reply came only eight days after, and the location from where it had been sent could not be easily tracked. It was from here, particularly the fact that the kidnappers were very slow in responding to any messages or even money from the family’s side, that the police first grew suspicious that the whole thing might be an act. Next, they learned that Anne was not really happy in her long marriage with Tom and that she had even signed an astounding prenuptial agreement. In this agreement, it was clearly mentioned that Anne would receive none of Tom’s riches and wealth, aside from a meager 200,000 euros, and this was not the only unhealthy thing in their marriage. Anne was apparently always kept under strict observation by her husband, and she was now asking for a divorce. The police also later found a divorce paper that Anne had already signed, but Tom had not, and all of this quickly made Tom Hagen the top suspect.
Around eighteen months after the incident, in 2021, Tom Hagen was arrested by the police, and the entire suspicion was quickly made public. The charges of suspicion brought against Tom were the ones the police had just found since his possible disagreement in giving his wife a divorce meant that he had a clear motive to commit the crime. Tom Hagen obviously denied any such claims, saying that he and Anne were very happy in their marriage, but he was put up to fourteen days on remand. However, Tom’s defense lawyer managed to find a crack in the prosecution’s case, as one of the main charges was that Tom had deleted logs of him calling his wife from his phone and had lied to the police that he had not. But it was found out that the phone Tom had been using did not store call logs of one number more than six times, and it was, therefore, the phone that had deleted the logs and not Tom. Besides, Tom was found to be extremely backdated with technology, as the man could hardly use computers or smartphones, and believing that he pretended to be the kidnapper while talking about cryptocurrencies was too far-fetched. It was suspected that someone else might have helped him with it, and his close business aide, Ivar Eng, was interrogated about the matter. While nothing solid could be found, it always remained suspicious that only a few days before the kidnapping, Ivar had told Tom about cryptocurrencies, specifically about Monero, and even mentioned that Monero was mostly used by criminals because the sender and receiver of funds through this cryptocurrency can never be tracked. Throughout the several months since the kidnapping, multiple searches had been conducted on all of Tom’s properties in order to find Anne’s body or anything suspicious, but nothing of the sort was ever found. Ultimately, Tom Hagen was released from police custody just ten days after his arrest, as the court overturned the police’s decision.
Along with the exact proceedings of the case and the findings, “The Lorenskog Disappearance” also makes it a point to delve into the characters a bit, and frame how they were affected by this case. First, of course, is police investigator Jorunn Lakke, who had already dealt with a tragedy in life when her mother passed away in a car accident some twenty or so years ago. Ever since that accident, her father had also gradually become disoriented in life and would sometimes confuse her with her mother. The doctors diagnosed his condition as Alzheimer’s settling in, and by the end of the series, the man has difficulty remembering daily and usual things. By the end, Jorunn learns that Tom Hagen had actually been her father’s schoolmate, and although the father does not remember the events of the recent past, he claims that Tom was a very good kid in school, always shy and an introvert. He asks whether Tom has done something wrong, and Jorunn has to admit that she simply does not know.
From the time the case had first become public, some months after the incident, two leading crime journalists, Aleks and Erlend, had been pursuing the case for the leading newspaper in the country. Erlend was also being directly helped by Jorunn’s team secretly, as he received inside tips and wrote about them so that the police could build a case against Tom Hagen. In effect, the news media was becoming a mouthpiece for the police’s theories, and Aleks was not at all happy about this. Having a personal history with police immorality, she looked at other possible suspects in the case and wrote about a group of money-laundering criminals running a car-repair shop who could have very well carried out the kidnapping. However, nobody paid attention to her theory at the time, and Aleks frustratedly left her job as a journalist and instead focused on making a documentary film on the matter. On the other hand, Erlend was always very sure that it was definitely Tom Hagen who had killed his wife. Erlend’s own father, a renowned and respected journalist and editor, used to regularly control and assault his wife, and Erlend had made it his life’s goal to throw light upon such misogynist abusers who get away only because of their social status. To him, it was only about proving that Tom Hagen was guilty, but what he failed to see was how the case had made him exactly what he hated. When his wife asks him to not pursue dangerous leads in the case, and they have a heated argument, Erlend pushes his wife away violently, almost repeating his father’s actions. In the end, too, he is seen preparing an article to slander Tom and the mainstream media for clearing him of any suspicion, as Erlend still believes it was Tom who had killed Anne.
‘The Lorenskog Disappearance’s Ending Explained: What Was The Criminal Gang Theory? Could This Lead Be Proved True?
More than two years had passed, and the police still could not get any solid evidence against any of their suspects, and neither was Anne found. It was around this time that a certain criminal named Mattis got in touch with the police to cut a deal. He wanted to be transferred to a prison with fewer restrictions and, in return, promised to reveal information on the Lorenskog case. When Jorunn and her team sat down to talk with him, Mattis told them about how he had known Tom for a few years. Mattis had gotten close to a man called Peter Vam, and together they started a honeytrap scam for rich men in which they would get the men attracted to a young woman, who was also working with them, and then pictures of their intimate moments would be taken, which would then be used to blackmail the men. It was from this woman that Mattis had first heard of the billionaire Tom, as he seemed to have visited the place at least once, if not more. After this, Mattis had a fallout with Vam, and when he started following the man for revenge, he found out that Vam was now closely associated with two men called Edon and Allan Kirap, running a drug racket. The Kiraps ran a family car repair shop in Norway, and this was the same shop that Aleks had written about in her unpublished article, and Mattis heard the next part of the story from one of the Kirap brothers himself. Apparently, the Kiraps had been told to help Edon with some plan of his, and together they drove to Lorenskog in a van one night, and the next morning they returned with a kidnapped woman.
What this theory possibly suggests is that Tom Hagen had become a target of these criminal gangsters, and they had possibly already extorted some money from him through the sex scandal. Perhaps now they wanted more and had kidnapped his wife in a well-thought-out plan and had killed Anne after not getting the demanded money. The police could not completely trust such an account because, by now, there were innumerable people, especially criminals looking to make a deal with the authorities, who claimed to have legitimate information about the case. Everything Mattis had said was also something that he had heard, but nonetheless, the police considered his account as a lead. They went over to Spain to meet with Peter Vam, but the man denied any involvement. Although Jorunn and her team tried to get Vam back to Norway to conduct investigations, the man managed to somehow escape custody and flee to Dubai. The woman involved in the sex scandal racket was also investigated, but she had disappeared mysteriously after taking a ferry to Sweden. To top it all off, Mattis grew extremely scared that some of Vam’s men were present in the new prison he had been transferred to and feared that they would harm him. Unfortunately, the man was found dead inside his own cell, and he had apparently hanged himself to death. This theory, too, remained unproven by the end, as the police could not get anything solid from this perspective either.
How True Are The Events Shown In ‘The Lorenskog Disappearance’? Where Are Anne And Tom Hagen Now?
“The Lorenskog Disappearance” clearly states that the events shown in it are dramatic recreations of actual things that happened in reality. While the characters and their own internal stories are, in all probability, fictional, the main structure of events and findings are true. The case of the missing billionaire wife actually shocked Norway in 2018, and many discussions and attempts to solve it have been made since then. As of the present, none of the suspects or angles in the case could be investigated to fruition, and all of them led the police elsewhere. The crypto account which had been mentioned for the ransom to be sent was also investigated by the police, but it turned out to be an account created through a false and stolen identity. The fate of Anne-Elisabeth Hagen remains tragically unknown, as neither she nor her dead body have been found. No new information or communication from the kidnappers has been reported either, and Anne seems to have been lost forever. Tom Hagen had indeed been released from police custody shortly after being arrested, and although the police wanted to arrest him again, they could not do so because of the lack of any solid evidence. Tom remains a successful businessman in Norway, and he has also appeared on the national Norwegian Broadcasting channel in an interview in which he still claims his innocence. The exact fate of the Lorenskog kidnapping case might perhaps never come to light, and the series makes an attempt to portray the theories that could have been.
“The Lorenskog Disappearance” is a 2022 Drama Thriller Miniseries streaming on Netflix.