THE SUSPECT The attacker has been identified by local media as a Yemeni asylum seeker in his 30s. Photo/Anton Brink.
Family and friends of 44 year old Latvian woman, Sanita Braune who died after a violent and brutal attack on September 21 say that the suspect, a Yemeni asylum seeker in his 30s, had stalked the victim prior to the attack. The two had talked online and met once, after which the attacker became obsessed with the victim. He is said to have been “enraged” that she showed no romantic interest in him.
Icelandic media has reported that the victim and the attacker had at some point had a “short personal relationship”. The Metropolitan Police confirmed this to the local news site Vísir, saying that the relationship had been over when the man attacked Sanita in her home on Hagamelur street west of downtown Reykjavík. The family rejects this account.
In an interview with the local newspaper DV friends and family members of Sanita say that she had at no time had a romantic or sexual relations with the attacker. She had talked to the man online and met him once, but wasn’t interested in meeting him again or getting to know him any better. This left the man enraged.
One of Sanita’s friends in Iceland, another Latvian woman, told DV that Sanita had told her she didn’t like the man. The man refused to accept this and started to stalk Sanita. She told her family about this, but did not express immediate fear for her life or otherwise indicate that the man was a threat. “She didn’t know the man, and was not in any contact with him. They talked online, but she rejected him because she didn’t like him. I think that enraged him,” a family member told DV.
A mother, teacher and violin player
Sanita Braune was 44 years old when she was killed. She was born in 1972 in Latvia. She had three grown children, all of whom live in Latvia, two daughter, the oldest 25 years old and the younger 20 years old. Her youngest child was a 15 year old son. Sanita came from a small town, Ventspils, but later moved to Riga, the capital of Latvia. She was a violin player and a teacher.
Sanita had lived in Iceland for close to two years, working at hotels and guesthouses in South and West Iceland, before moving to Reykjavík where she was working at a downtown guesthouse. Her family told DV that she had left Latvia in search of work, spending time in England, Belgium and the Netherlands, before moving to Iceland.
Friends who spoke to the local news site Vísir described her as a “kind, helpful and a good friend to her friends.”