Person of interest sought in Swedish student's '82 Marin County disappearance

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ByVic Lee KGO logo
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Man sought in Swedish student's '82 disappearance
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Now that remains discovered in Fremont have been confirmed as a 21-year-old Swedish exchange student who vanished more than 30 years ago, detectives are now on the hunt for a person of interest.

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- The mysterious disappearance of a Bay Area college exchange student is finally solved after more than 30 years. The remains of 21-year-old Swedish exchange student Elisabeth Martinsson were confirmed to be found in a Fremont canyon. Now, authorities want to find the person responsible for her death.

Martinsson worked as a nanny for a Greenbrae host family while attending College of Marin. She was last seen at the Larkspur Landing Shopping Center on Jan. 17, 1982

Then in 2010, human bones were found in a rural area of Fremont. Last November, the U.S. Department of Justice was finally able to match them to Martinsson through dental records. The coroner could not come up with a cause of death.

Since then, Marin County Sheriff's detectives have been looking for Henry Coleman. He was a person of interest when police found him with Martinsson's car shortly after her disappearance.

"Approximately 10 days after Ms. Martinsson disappeared, her vehicle was located in Oklahoma and Mr. Coleman was in possession of that vehicle at that time," said Detective Jamie Scardinal.

Authorities eventually dropped a murder case against him for lack of evidence. But Coleman pleaded guilty to stealing the car and served five years in prison.

Now with the dental match, Coleman is once again a person of interest.

"We're not going to stop until we determine that he is deceased or maybe he's just living in a different part of the country," Scardinal said.

Robert Blau, a member of her host family, released a statement in reaction to the discovery that reads: "Elisabeth worked for our family as an au pair, she was a wonderful soul and very kind, she is still missed today."

Martinsson's remains have been cremated. Arrangements are being made to send her ashes to her family in Sweden.