Who Was Stig Engstrom?

On February 28, 1986, the prime minister of Sweden, Olof Palme, was assassinated (via The Guardian). Per the BBC, Palme was leaving a movie theater with his wife, Lisbeth, and son, Marten, when he was attacked from behind. He was shot in the back and died instantly. In 1989, The Conversation states that Christer Pettersson was convicted of Palme's murder and sentenced to life in prison. Known as a petty criminal, he was later visually identified by both Lisbeth and Marten (per NPR). 

However, the murder investigation was botched from the beginning. The crime scene was not properly closed off and the murder weapon, a .357 Magnum handgun, was never found. Thus, Pettersson's conviction was quickly overturned and he was released. Palme's murder had remained unsolved for more than three decades after his death when investigators suddenly named Stig Engstrom as the assassin. When a new team of investigators reopened Palme's case in 2016, Engstrom's suspicious witness statements stood out.

Stig Enstrom is known as the "Skandia Man"

Engstrom was dubbed by Swedish media as the "Skandia Man" (via The Guardian). The BBC states that he had been employed by the Skandia insurance company as a graphic designer at the time of Palme's murder. His office was near the crime scene and he was working late on the night of the assassination. A day after the crime occurred, Engstrom called the police and media. He claimed he was one of the first people on the scene and helped in efforts to resuscitate Palme, both of which were later found to be lies (via The Conversation). Engstrom changed his story several times but was somehow dismissed as being a suspect. However, in June 2020 he was identified as being the killer, per NPR.

Though no new evidence was uncovered and the murder weapon was never found, prosecutors concluded that Engstrom's police statements did not add up. Moreover, he had a military background and was in a shooting club. In other words, Engstrom had possible access to handguns. Palme, who was a Social Democrat, had been a controversial figure. Although there isn't a clear motive, Engstrom was said to be highly critical of Palme's views.

Despite this, no charges will be brought against Engstrom because he is dead. According to The Washington Post, he died by suicide in 2000. Witness accounts and time stamps from the Skandia insurance company all corroborate that Engstrom was most likely the assassin. Officials concluded that even if they continued to investigate, they would find no other answer besides Engstrom.