The murder of Karina Holmer is a devastating one for reasons you’ll get to see as this true-life story unfolds.

Karina’s case reminds us of a particular episode in the crime drama, Criminal Minds, where the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) had to find a murderer with a similar M.O as Karina’s killer.

While the BAU team successfully found this killer, the same can’t be said of the officers who were saddled with solving Karina’s murder. 

For many years, up until now, Karina’s murder remains unsolved. A lot of water has passed under the bridge, so many life events have happened. Her family had gradually learned to live with the loss.

But there is an excellent possibility that her killer remains out there walking the streets of Boston, alive and healthy – no one knows.  

Who was Karina Holmer, and why was the life of a budding young lady snuffed out of her sooner than was time?

Keep reading to find out all about the disturbing gruesome murder of Karina Holmer, which was never solved.

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10 It's A Cold Case

Twenty-five years ago, on June 21, 1996, Karina Holmer went clubbing with her friends and never returned.

A couple of days later, she was discovered in a trash bin behind a building at 1091 Boylston Street by a homeless man rummaging through the chest.

Investigations got into play, an autopsy was carried out, suspects were interrogated, but all these proved futile. Her killer remains unidentified to this day, and the police couldn’t find a crime scene.

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9 Karina... From Sweden To Boston

Beautiful and young 20-year-old Swedish Karina won a lottery of $1500. In March of 1996, she moved to Boston, U.S, from her home in Stockholm, Sweden, to have a shot at a better life.

She got employed as an au pair for Frank Rapp and Susan Nitcher (who had two kids) in Dover’s suburb.

For four months in Dover, Karina enjoyed her life as an au pair and had a feel of the U.S, more so as she was allowed access to Frank’s Boston loft every other night.



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8 Why Zanzibar?

Zanzibar was unique to the investigation of Karina’s murder because it was a club she frequently visited with her friends.

It was also the last place she was seen before her disappearance on the faithful Friday night of June 21, 1996.

That night, Karina chose club Zanzibar for a more personal reason – to celebrate the Summer Solstice, a famous Swedish holiday. 

 Karina’s friend left her all by herself in the club on the night of her murder. Could things have been different if they had stayed together as usual? We would never know.

7 Any Leads?

Sadly, there was no crime scene as whoever killed her did that someplace different from the trash bin in which Karina was found.

The only leads were the strangulation marks on her neck and the partial fingerprints on the garbage bag in which her upper body was found.

Unfortunately, these led to a dead end as the fingerprints were never matched. Fast-forward to 25 years later, in 2021, there has been neither new leads nor something to hope for from the old evidence.

6 What Theories Are We Going With?

Before her murder, Karina was dating a policeman, and some speculated that he might have a motive for killing her.

Others believed her employer, Frank, might be responsible and could have dismembered her from the waist down to hide a pregnancy. 

Witnesses said they saw her leaving the club drunk and speaking to different people. Others reported she got into various vehicles after leaving the club.

None of these theories proved helpful as most of the witnesses were drunk themselves and couldn’t be trusted.

5 All Alibis Checked

Every suspect keen on the investigation had to be let go as they all had alibis which checked, except Karina’s employers.

For want of evidence and that it didn’t seem plausible for them to wait to kill her outside their home where she lived, Frank and Susan were also let off the hook.

Karina’s police boyfriend and some others suspected of killing Karina had solid alibis, which threw the investigation back to square one.

4 This Time It Is Suicide

Karina’s murder suspects, Herb Whitten, were also interrogated as he had been seen speaking to Karina that night. Whitten was known for walking the area wearing matching superman t-shirts with his dog. 

However, he had a strong alibi as he had gotten a speeding ticket driving home to Andover.

The police believed he couldn’t have arrived home in Andover and gone back to kill Karina. A year later, Whitten committed suicide.

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3 Why Was It So Gruesome?

Most people kill and leave the bodies intact. Some others kill and bury or dispose of the bodies immediately.

A different class of psychopaths kills and dismembers the body for varying sick reasons.

Karina’s body was not just dumped disrespectfully in a trash bin, but whoever did it also mutilated her from her waist down after strangling her to death.

She was found with the lower half of her torso missing. The chances are that the dismemberment occurred post mortem. The missing half remains missing till today, and there were no traces of her blood at the dumpsite.

2 Back To Sweden

According to Karina’s family, she started writing to her friends in Sweden, few months after her employment as an au pair.

She complained of the workload and lamented that it wasn’t what she envisioned. In another letter to another friend, she wrote that “something terrible” had happened and she could only tell her in details when she got back home.

This shows that Karina had plans to go back home. Just as Karina never got back home and never revealed the secret to her friend, we would never know if these letters had anything to do with her murder.

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1 Will Karina's Murder Ever Be Solved?

The answer to this question is a very heartbreaking “maybe not.” It’s been so many years since Karina’s remains were discovered in the trash bin in Dover.

For such a long time, evidence might have been lost, and the murderer could be dead and buried too.

It’s sad for her family not having closure for so many years of wondering what could have been if she never won the lottery and moved to the United States.

But the sad and bitter truth remains that Karina’s murder could remain a cold case forever.

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