Massive manhunt for Zalkalns continues

Take note – story published 9 years ago

Latvian police said Monday they were helping police in the United Kingdom in a massive manhunt to find missing schoolgirl Alice Gross and Arnis Zalkalns, a Latvian citizen named by UK investigators as a suspect in her disappearance.

British press have been giving the case extensive coverage with numerous reporters sent to Latvia to find background about 41-year-old Zalkalns and his previous life while police investigations continue in the UK.

"Arnis Zalkalns does have a previous conviction for murdering his wife in 1997. Latvian police are cooperating fully with the UK police in the search for Zalkalns," Latvian state Police spokesman Toms Sadovskis told LSM.

Latvian Justice Ministry spokeswoman Liva Rancane also confirmed to LSM that someone named Arnis Zalkalns was convicted of murder more than a decade ago.

"An individual named Arnis Zalkalns was convicted of murder, under Article 98 of the Latvian Criminal Code, and convicted of illegal possession of a weapon under Article 218, Part 1 of the Latvian Criminal Code. He was sentenced to 8 years' punishment in prison and began serving the sentence on June 18, 1998," the Justice Ministry statement said, adding that it was not authorized to give out more information at this time.

"I can inform you that the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Latvia has not received any requests for judicial cooperation. However the Ministry of Justice is ready to provide support if it will be requested," the statement said.

Zalkans, born in 1972, disappeared on September 3, not long after the disappearance of 14-year-old Alice Gross on August 28.

CCTV footage showed the two in the same part of London within a few minutes of each other.

UK police have appealed to anyone who might know Zalkalns' whereabouts to come forward.

Speaking to the LETA news agency a former partner of Zalkalns' called Līga Rubežniece said he was "not a maniac".

"Yes, he murdered his wife, but it wasn't premeditated," Rubežniece said, contrary to reports that in 1997 he lured his wife to a remote forest before brutally murdering her with a knife and steel bar.



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