Transcript: 163. The UIvila Murder (Ulvilan Surma) | Finland


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Our cases have been researched using open source and archive materials. It deals with true crimes and real people. Some parts are graphic in nature and listener discretion is advised. Each episode is produced with the utmost respect to the victims, their families and loved ones. 


In Finland, if you fall victim to homicide, your killer is almost certainly caught as, according to the statistics of the Police University of Applied Sciences, the homicide clearance rate is nearly one hundred percent.


Still, there are several murder mysteries that have gone years, even decades, without answers. Besides well-known cases, even outside Finnish borders, like the murder of Kyllikki Saari and the Lake Bodom murders, there is the bizarre case of the so-called "Ulvilan Surma" or Ulvila murder case. After 15 years and numerous trials, convictions and acquittals, an undercover policing operation and huge compensations, we are still no closer to knowing who stabbed and killed 51-year-old Jukka S. Lahti in his own home on the night of December 1, 2006.


>>Intro Music

Jukka S. Lahti was born in 1955. He was a social psychologist and had a master's degree in social sciences, a qualification Jukka was really proud of. Friends described him as being very sociable and talkative, somebody who had        an innate ability to get close to people. In addition, Jukka had a strong work ethic and was a hardworking employee who always participated in whatever was thrown his way. Through his work, Jukka eventually met a woman named Anneli Auer.


Anneli Auer was born in Kaarina in March of 1965. Two and half years later, Anneli's younger brother was born. When the children were still very young, the family moved to Turku, where Anneli completed her primary education and attended Aurajoki Highschool.


Anneli was an excellent student but quiet and withdrawn. As one of her classmates recalls, she never seemed to be excited or impulsive like other youngsters. While Anneli had one friend, a girl with whom she spent all her time at school, they never met outside of school.


Anneli graduated with the best possible grade in every subject and ended up studying languages and sociology at the University of Turku. Four years later, Anneli continued her studies, this time at the Turku School of Economics.


Despite her stellar academic record, finding employment after graduation was not that easy. And so, Anneli was unemployed for a year before attending a course held by the Turku employment office. The leader of this course was social psychologist Jukka S. Lahti.


In the end, then 31-year-old Anelli was hired by that exact same employment office, where she shared an office with 41-year-old Jukka. The two got along extremely well, and before they could stop it, their friendship had turned romantic. The only problem was, at the time, neither of them was single. Jukka was     married, and Anneli lived with her boyfriend. Neither had children. Not yet.


As the affair continued, Anneli fell pregnant. Still, the two were not ready yet to give up their current relationships, and Anneli's boyfriend at the time recognised Jukka’s child as his own. Not surprisingly, the situation did not last, and eventually, when the baby was six months old, Jukka and Anneli left their respective relationships and moved in together in February of 1998. Soon after, they got married.


When Anneli had their second child, she began became aware of the baby weight on her body. As she had tried different kinds of diets since she was a teenager, she knew what to do to shake them off. And so, after setting up her own meal plan, she quickly lost eight kilograms. Soon Anneli realised this was the kind of work she could do while taking care of her children, and created a website called "Mammadieetti," meaning "Mommydiet." A couple of years later, Anneli put up another website called "Perhekerho" or "Familyclub," where she shared crafts and traveling tips. Anneli's online persona seemed practical and peaceful. She was a great administrator, who solved issues if and when they arose and refused to engage with trolls.


Then, in November 2002, the family moved to Ulvila after Jukka was offered a job at Luvata Oy as personnel development manager. They lived at 54 Tähtisentie in a quiet neighbourhood. The closest supermarket was one and a half kilometers away and Ulvila center only three. 


There, in their own tucked-away corner of the world, Anneli, Jukka and the children, four of them at this point, lived a quiet, isolated life. There were no visitors, and Anneli did not get to know the neighbors even though her kids were playing with other neighbourhood children. Jukka worked long hours during weekdays, and on the weekends, he loved spending time with his wife and children at home. The family never quite settled down in Ulvila and were dreaming about moving back to Turku, or perhaps even abroad. The only thing holding them back was Jukka's job. 


According to Anneli, after four years working at Luvata Oy, Jukka was frustrated. His job was no longer the same as what he had come to do, and Jukka felt like he was not appreciated. And so, he began to  make plans, either change jobs or start his own consulting firm. The idea of change felt good and exciting, he was looking forward to moving on.


In the September of 2006, the family traveled to Teneriffe for a week-long holiday – something they did as often as they could. Anneli later said that was the last time she was truly happy. Life was treating the family well, and they did not have a worry in the world. When Jukka saw an older couple, he whispered in Anneli's ear:


"That will be us in twenty years."

Anneli smiled. According to her, her relationship with Jukka was always loving, comfortable and blissful. They hardly ever disagreed and theirs was a home of harmony. There was no reason to think they would not grow old together. However, in just five short months all their hopes and dreams were shattered forever.


On November 30, 2006, Jukka left early in the morning to go to Turku. There he first visited a dental clinic before attending a seminar organised by the Turku employment office. Then Jukka went to see his sister, who lived in the city, and from there he attended the seminar again as it opened for the evening. Finally, according to the organisers, Jukka left for Ulvila around 10pm.


After that, we do not know for sure what happened at the house at Tähtisentie 54, but on December 1, 2006 at 2:43 AM, a 1-1-2 operator answered a call and heard a woman yelling down the line:


"There's a killer here, come quickly!"


The caller was Anneli Auer, who told the operator that someone had broken into their home and stabbed her husband. She herself was also wounded. The couple’s 2-, 4-, 7- and 9-year-old children were also in the house at the time of the attack.


During the 4 minute and 20-second emergency call, Anneli was absent for 59 seconds while her 9-year-old held the phone. We know for sure Jukka was still alive at this point, at least for part of the call, as his screams can be heard in the background, asking his wife for help. However, Anneli later told the operator that her husband had suddenly fallen silent.


Nine minutes from the start of the emergency call, police arrived. They found Jukka lying on his back, lifeless on the bedroom floor. His body was in front of the bathroom door, legs partly under the bed in a pool of blood with shards of glass scattered around him. Unfortunately, as soon as paramedics arrived, it was clear there was nothing they could do, and Jukka S. Lahti was pronounced dead at the scene.


As police examined the room, they noted that the window of the door that led to the patio was broken. They also found a bloody Fiskars-branded knife (manufactured before 1984) and a bloody piece of firewood. However, neither one of these turned out to be the murder weapon.


While Jukka had around 60 stab wounds, some superficial and some deeper, it was injury inflicted by a heavy and blunt object that caused his death. After the autopsy, it was reported Jukka had a 6cm x 2cm-sized hole in his head, on his right temple, that reached all the way into his brain. Another injury by the same tool was on the right side of Jukka's mouth, where a deep and well-defined wound had split his lips. It's been speculated that the object could have been a crowbar, an axe or perhaps even steak hammer. But as the murder weapon has never been located, we do not know for sure.


Due to Jukka's high number of injuries, his murder was described as a crime of passion. According to this theory, the killer was somebody who knew Jukka and possibly held a grudge towards him before things suddenly escalated. As Anneli had also been injured during the attack, she was taken to the hospital, where she gave her version of events.


According to Anneli, Jukka returned home around 11pm that evening from his work trip. The two went to bed approximately one hour later. Then, at 2:40am, they woke up to a loud noise: someone broke the window in the bedroom door that led to the backyard. Through the window jumped a man dressed in black with a hood covering his face. He immediately attacked Jukka, who grabbed pieces of firewood, in an attempt to protect himself.


As Anneli then tried to help her husband, the assailant turned to her and stabbed her in the chest with a knife. After realising the seriousness of the situation, Anneli fled the room, yelling to her children to get out. Unfortunately, they were sleeping too deep and did not hear their mother. Anneli then ran to the kitchen, where she called 1-1-2 from a landline.


At this point, the eldest child, Amanda, had woken up because of all the noise. Her room was the closest to the bedroom where her father was fighting for his life. Anneli asked her daughter to come to the phone to hold the line with the emergency service while she attempted to help Jukka. However, when the strange r attacked her once again, she was forced to leave the room. When Anneli came back to the phone, she had been away for 59 seconds. Amanda later said she also saw the attacker dressed in black clothing when he was exiting the window after killing her father.


Next, police began their investigation of the crime scene. Besides the knife and piece of firewood on the floor, another piece of firewood was found on the bloody bed with both Jukka's DNA and that of an unknown person’s. On the bed, there was also a black grip glove. Bloody prints made with the glove were discovered on the window frame in addition to bloody footprints both on the floor and outside on the terrace.


Initially, crime scene investigator Matti Mäkinen reported that the window in the bedroom door was broken from the outside, which makes sense if an intruder was breaking into the house. However, as there was glass both inside the bedroom and outside on the terrace, the police later questioned this view of events. But more about that later.


The investigators also found lots of brown synthetic fibers from the crime scene, but to this day, it is unclear where they came from. However, the important thing here is that these fibers were found on Jukka's clothes, under his fingernails, on the knife, the window frame, and the terrace, but not on Anneli. On her clothes, there were only fibers from the bedsheet on which she and Jukka had been sleeping before the attack.


As Jukka's killer was supposedly an outsider, police brought a dog to the scene in hopes of finding a scent trace. However, this happened 1 hour and 30 minutes after the murder had taken place, so the alleged man dressed in black had lots of time to disappear. On top of that, there had been many officers going in and out of the house at this point. So, the dog was unable to find a trace of somebody leaving the property through the backyard, but the police also neglected to check the front yard.


However, there was a short scent trail starting from an area of grass a couple of houses from the murder scene. Unfortunately, the trace ended on an asphalt road, and it was impossible to know who had walked there. It is noteworthy that the dog also did not mark any connection between Anneli and the Fiskars knife used in the murder.


During the investigation, police performed multiple reconstructions, including breaking the bedroom window and how easy or difficult it was to get inside that way, Anneli's possible moves during the 1-1-2 call and even the lighting in the house. The last re-enactment was done to prove that Anneli had not been able to see the strange man's facial features that night. 


Even though it might sound like a lot was done to catch Jukka's murderer, there were also many mistakes made during the investigation from the start. The crime scene was not isolated by the book, the house was not appropriately searched, and evidence even got destroyed. These mistakes would haunt the investigation for years to come.


At the beginning of the investigation, it was thought the motive of the murder had something to do with Jukka’s work. He had worked at Luvata Oy as a personnel development manager, but according to Anneli, Jukka had also gotten involved in unpleasant redundancy processes. The copper plant had laid off 400 employees, and it was possible that his advice had angered someone. The theory of personal vendetta was also supported by the fact Jukka had told his co-workers and close associates that he had been receiving threats since the previous spring. The nature of these threats and who was making them is unknown. Jukka also did not contact local police, so it is unclear how concerned he was about the situation. Or so everybody thought. 


It was later revealed that Jukka had, in fact, spoken to police multiple times in the months leading up to his murder. What was curious was that he had called police in Porvoo, a city almost 300km from Ulvila. He had called outside business hours, from his work phone. However, the content of the three to seven minutes long calls has never been uncovered.


Inspector Juha Joutsenlahti, the first Director of Investigation, sided with the the theory that there was a murderous intruder and put all the efforts towards finding this person. He asked help from the public to locate a vehicle: a red Volvo, that had been moving around the area at the time of the murder and also beforehand. However, this car was never found, and there is no certainty that it even was involved in the crime in any way. The police also released information stating they had the killer's DNA and that his voice could be heard on the 112-call recording. They even carried out the largest DNA sample gathering in Finnish history, collecting over 700 samples. Unfortunately, none of them was a match, and the police had unknowingly done lots of work, but had no results to show for it. You see, it was found out many years later, in 2013, that the unknown DNA found on the crime scene actually belonged to a police investigator. And so, one of the most critical pieces of evidence was lost.


Police brought in many suspects to be questioned during the first year of the investigation. Possibly the most famous person accused of killing Jukka S. Lahti was the actor Kai Tanner who was arrested in July 2007. He was held in prison for a total of seven days before he was quickly released after the police realized there was nothing to connect him to the murder. The reason Kai was a suspect in the first place was that one of Jukka's and Anneli's neighbors had given his name to the police at the very beginning of the investigation. Kai's picture had been then shown to Anneli several times, who thought that the actor had the same features as the Jukka's murderer, saying:


"The similarities I mentioned before fit very well with the facial features of the perpetrator. But I cannot 100% identify the man in picture # 4 as the killer."


Anneli was later asked to the police station to see the police identification lineup. Even though she remembered the strange man coming through the window taller than Kai, she picked him as a possible suspect. And so, the actor was arrested just to be released one week later as his DNA did not match the one found at the crime scene. The one that actually belonged to a police investigator. Nevertheless, deeply upset, Kai sought crisis assistance after his experience and later received 11 000 euros compensation from the government for unjustified deprivation of liberty and loss of earnings.


Then on February 2, 2008, Jukka's half-brother Jarmo A. told a curious story. According to him, during Jukka's funeral, there had been a strange man in the church parking lot and in the chapel, weirdly staring at them. However, nobody knew who the man was, and the event had not been publicly announced to anyone outside the family. In the end, the mystery man had run away, jumped over the cemetery fence and disappeared. To this day, his identity is unknown.


Then, in the spring of 2009, the whole investigation was turned on its head. The Director of the Investigation had been changed the previous August, and the new director, Pauli Kuusiranta, had a different theory. He put forward the idea that Anneli Auer was actually the one responsible for her husband's death. Psychologist Pirkko Lahti gave a statement saying that Anneli's behavior had been strange – she was too calm. His view was based on the recording of an emergency call and the video from the hospital where Anneli was questioned right after the murder.


However, Pirkko did not know that Anneli had been heavily sedated at the hospital as she had been crying hysterically when she was brought in. Still, according to Pirkko, who possibly knew that Anneli was a suspect at this point, said that Anneli answered and acted as if in a staged situation, calm and clearly analytical:


"It almost felt like watching a TV play."


The tapes were also evaluated by police psychologist Lasse Nurmi, who came to similar conclusions. Nobody seemed to care about the fact Anneli was medicated, and she had just gone through extreme trauma.


On December 1, 2008, director Pauli Kuusiranta gave an interview to evening newspaper, Iltalehti, in which he said that all lines of investigation were still open and the connections to Luvata Oy and Jukka's history in Turku were being studied. He was convinced that the murderer was going to get caught. After all, the Ulvila case was still the only unresolved homicide throughout his 36-year career. However, the truth was that at this point, police were not considering any other possibilities. To them, Anneli was the murderer.


Then, desperately needing evidence against Anneli, police decided to begin an undercover operation in April 2009. And so, one day, Anneli noticed a cell phone ringing on the snowy ground on the street. However, she was in a hurry, so she did not pick up the phone until later that evening. Once again, the phone rang and Anneli answered. The voice on the other end asked her to take the phone with her so the owner could later come to recover it. So Anneli did, and before she knew it, a tall and sporty-looking man appeared at her door, introducing himself as Seppo Mäkelä. Seppo was happy to get his phone back as, according to him, he had all his passwords saved inside. He even gave Anneli a reward, a chocolate bar and a gift card for the spa named Caribia in Turku. On the envelope of the gift card were Seppo's phone number and his email address.


The following day, the two met each other again by accident. As they stopped to have a short conversation, Seppo said:


"I met an angel twice yesterday. First, I heard some angel had picked up my phone. Then I came to your door, and when it was opened, I saw an angel."


After that, little by little, Anneli let Seppo get closer, who really seemed to have a mission to win Anneli's heart. Eventually the relationship grew quite serious. Seppo began to spend more and more time with the whole family. On one occasion he helped Anneli with car problems. Before long he was immersed in her life and took her to movies and kids to the waterpark Serena. At some point around May, Seppo opened up about his tragic past. He told Anneli in a long letter that one of his daughters had died in a car accident, which eventually led to divorce from his wife. Anneli then revealed what had happened to her husband. Seppo later said he had read about the case from Wikipedia and was not able to sleep well afterwards.


Seppo kept asking about Jukka and Anneli's previous boyfriend before the two had gotten together. He thought maybe the boyfriend could have had something to do with the murder. Perhaps he was jealous as Anneli had left him for another man and even had a baby while they had been still together. However, Anneli was not convinced of the theory and explained to Seppo why.


Later that Summer, Seppo began talking about moving in together to a new apartment after his trip to Sweden. Anneli suggested that Seppo could move in with her and the children as they were looking for a new house in Turku anyway. Seppo promised to think about it and made it clear that Anneli was the first woman he had wanted a serious relationship with since his separation.


Then, on August 26, 2008, came a reminder that the family was in the middle of a murder investigation. Anneli's eldest daughter Amanda was suddenly taken to be questioned again, and Anneli was left without any proper information about what was happening. However, during the interview, Amanda did not change her story of what happened that night her father was killed, but the investigators were doing their best to make her change her mind. For example, social worker Satu Kivimäki asked:


"Is it possible, Amanda, that you had heard somebody talking about what happened, and after that, you began to remember like you had seen it yourself? Is something like that possible?”


Amanda replied,


"But I was the only one who saw it, how could anyone else talk about it?"


At the same time, Seppo was talking with Anneli, asking about the details of the investigation and the murder:


"Were you a suspect when Jukka got killed?"


Anneli then explained that, of course, she had been a suspect, and they had gone through all her laptops and phones and questioned her about other men. But to her knowledge, she was not a suspect anymore. However, that was not enough for Seppo, who kept asking:


"Annu, tell me... Tell me...I do not care one bit if you did it, but I want to know...tell me... Annu, did you do it?"


Anneli was feeling confused but answered that she did not have any reason to kill Jukka, and it would not have been even possible, according to evidence. Still, Seppo pushed one more time, saying it was alright and he just wanted to know, causing Anneli to raise her voice a little:


"I didn't do it!" 


Finally, it seemed that Seppo believed what he was told and said.


"Whatever happens, I will be by your side until the end."


However, that end came rather quickly when on September 2, 2009, Seppo sent a break-up letter to Anneli claiming that his old traumas were coming back as he was with her and at the same time in the middle of a murder investigation. According to him, his head was a mess, and he was not good company to anybody at the time. Seppo concluded his letter saying,


"Write me if you feel like it. I completely understand if I will never hear from you again."


However, Seppo's actions, in the end, were not much of a surprise for Anneli, who had started to doubt the man's real motives. He had been asking too many questions about Jukka’s death and had also made some strange remarks about the case. Seppo also had never invited Anneli to his home or told her where he worked. The two also never had sex during their six months together. Anneli had begun to think maybe Seppo was a journalist, amateur sleuth or even the murderer himself who came back. However, she would not get to know the true identity of Seppo Mäkelä until much later.


On September 28, 2009, Anneli was arrested on probable grounds for suspicion of murdering her husband, Jukka S. Lahti. The investigators had put together a theory of what had happened that unfortunate night almost two years earlier and were convinced of her guilt.


According to the police, on November 30, 2006, Jukka had returned home from Turku around 11pm and soon, an argument broke out between him and Anneli. According to this theory, the husband and wife were very different people whose values and morals did not align, and so they were on the edge of getting a divorce. The argument escalated, and objects began to fly across the room before they picked firewood and knives as weapons. Jukka was the first one with the knife in his hand, and he stabbed Anneli in her chest. Anneli then got the knife for herself and began stabbing her husband until he lost consciousness.


At this point, Anneli began staging the room, so it looked like an intruder had broken in. According to the prosecutor, Anneli broke the window in the bedroom door and made bloody boot prints using Jukka's shoes. Afterward, Anneli called 1-1-2, but while she was on the phone, Jukka regained consciousness and started to scream in pain. As a result, Anneli asked Amanda to come to the phone while she went back to the bedroom to make sure Jukka was dead, hitting him over the head. As a result, his shouts for help can no longer be heard on the emergency call recording. However, the prosecutor also had an alternative theory which included the idea Jukka was already dead when Anneli called 1-1-2 and screams heard in the background were just a recording.


According to prosecutor, Anneli also had somehow managed to hide the murder weapon and her alleged bloody clothes so well that they have never been found.


Two days after her arrest and after endless interrogations, Anneli confessed to murdering her husband. The confession, however, was very questionable. As she had been questioned for hours, with almost no sleep. Anneli was exhausted. The police also claimed that they had completely excluded the possibility of the killer being an outsider. More pressure was added by saying if Anneli would just confess, she would maybe be able to see their children. According to Anneli, she did not know what was real and what was not anymore. And so, when she finally confessed, she did not actually tell the story as "This is what I did." Instead, Anneli retold the story, as it was told to her by police. Anneli later revoked the confession.


Unfortunately, that did not stop the media circus. Before her trial even started, newspapers published articles with titles like: "Ulvila's murder mystery solved. Wife confessed" AND "Widow confessed to the murder of husband police thinking of charges" and another one read "From supermom to murderer".


Anneli Auer was quickly branded guilty by the tabloids, and hers, as well as her family’s lives were analysed to the last details. When the first trial then began on April 14, 2010, the whole of Finland was talking about the case and already had an opinion.


One of the most important pieces of evidence presented in court was the emergency call recording. Even though there are many different transcription variations, one used during the trial was done by Police Sound Investigator Tuija Niemi. She claimed she did not hear an outside attacker or sounds of struggle on the tape. However, she had also left out Jukka's screams for help in her transcription that can be heard very clearly. Instead, Tuija claimed she heard part of a word on the tape, maybe Anneli yelling "-uole." That word as a whole would be "kuole," meaning ‘die’ in English. It can be heard just before Jukka let out his final loud cry and then went silent. Also, according to the prosecutor, Anneli's claim that the whole attack had lasted just a few minutes could not be accurate. Based on the victim's injuries and blood evidence, the prosecutor claimed the attack lasted at least 15-20 minutes before Jukka succumbed to his injuries.


Of course, Anneli's defense has an entirely different opinion of what can be heard on the tape. According to them, the voices of the strange man can be heard, and the tape also proves that Anneli did not simply have enough time to kill her husband and also stage the scene. Jukka can also be clearly heard desperately asking for help from his wife, stating her name. Besides the tape, the most significant points in Anneli's defense were the fact that the murder weapon had never been found, nor had the alleged bloody clothes she had been wearing during the murder. Furthermore, her daughter, Amanda, had said she had seen the strange man dressed in black inside their house.


During the trial, Anneli also learned the truth about Seppo Mäkinen. He was an undercover police officer who duped her into trusting so he could get information about Jukka's murder. Anneli felt she had been horribly betrayed and even later said the police owed her a public apology, which she never received.


Still, despite all the efforts and lack of evidence, Anneli Auer was eventually found guilty of the murder of Jukka S. Lahti. The decision was not unanimous, as one of the judges would have wanted to acquit. Nevertheless, the district court sentenced Anneli to life in prison on November 12, 2010.


Unsurprisingly Anneli appealed to Vaasan Hovioikeus. While Hovioikeus literally translates to Royal Court, it just means the second level of the Finnish judicial system. Anneli's appeal paid off as this time, the end result was different. Based on her and her eldest child's testimony, as well as on the bloody footprints and the brown fibers found from the crime scene and the fact the police had not located the murder weapon, the murder charge was dismissed July 1, 2011.


However, that was not the end of it. As the police received information from Anneli's brother, with whom her children were now living, saying that the younger children had started to talk about the night of the murder, police continued their investigation. As a result, the Supreme Court of Finland decided to send the case back to Satakunta District Court because of the new evidence presented.


The case went to court again on August 20, 2013. According to the prosecutor, the additional investigation brought clarity to events prior to the attack and the motive behind it. At the beginning of the trial, he dropped a bomb nobody was expecting. The prosecutor claimed that Jukka's murder might have had something to do with satanism. Apparently, this idea came from Anneli's children. The prosecutor found it important enough to mention at the court but later dismissed it as just a really small sideline of the investigation. Also, the stories of the children were the reason the case was allowed back to court, and still, for the most part, the prosecutor leaned on the same event description as the first time around. According to him, the motive for the murder had been Jukka's wishes to end the marriage due to different life values, as Anneli had allegedly taken their children to shoplift and that did not sit right with Jukka.


The children's statements were later released, and they included, among others, the following claims:


"A child said that they heard the buttons on the cassette recorder on the night of murder. The sounds of the murder were then repeated from the tape as Anneli made an emergency call."


Another claim was:


“One of the children told in a video how Auer planned to kill her loved ones in Turku. Another child again said in the video her mother was considering arson.”


And also:


"The children also talked about the satanic worship rituals performed in the Turku apartment, where they killed dozens of mice, several birds and three cats."


There has been a huge debate whether or not there was any truth in the children's stories, who were all very young at the time of their father's death. Nevertheless, Anneli Auer was once again found guilty on December 12, 2012, and sentenced to life in prison. Again, Anneli appealed to Vaasan Hovioikeus. 


There, judges considered it very likely an outsider had been in the house based on the evidence.


They also did not find the statements of the youngest children very believable, and they felt the lack of evidence left too much room for doubt. And so, Anneli's murder charge was dismissed again on February 19, 2015.


As the Supreme Court of Finland did not grant leave to appeal, it meant Anneli Auer was finally permanently free of the charges regarding her husband's death.


But that did not mean she was free to walk out of prison. As if there had not been enough twists and turns in this case, in September 2011, when in the middle of a murder trial, Anneli and her ex-boyfriend had been charged with aggravated sexual offenses. On June 29, 2012, the district court of Turku sentenced Anneli to seven years in prison for two aggravated rape and three accounts of child sexual exploitation. The ex-boyfriend was sentenced to 10 years in prison. These crimes had happened between 2007 and 2009.


As a first-time offender, Anneli was released from prison on June 3, 2016, and put on probation after serving half of her sentence. Later that year, she received 545,800-euro compensation for time spent behind bars as an innocent person.


On September 6, 2016, Anneli Auer published a book called "Murhalesken Muistelmat" or "Murderwidow's Memoirs." In the book, she gives a chronological account of events before the murder, what happened on the night, and years of investigations and her days in court. Anneli also tells about the wrongdoings of the police and how the media published all kinds of false information. She mentions the research done by Tampere University called "Syylliseksi kirjoitettu" or "Written guilty," that investigated how Ulvila murder case and Anneli was treated by the news both on paper and online. According to Anneli, the case and its mistakes have to be examined carefully, so we can learn and prevent something like this from ever happening again. In the last two sentences of the book, Anneli thinks about the future: 


“I think hopefully and cautiously that the worst is now behind me. Life is still going to be good for all of us. Not like it was before, but good in some new way.”


While Anneli has been adapting to her new life, the fact remains we do not know who killed her husband almost 15 years ago. Jukka’s children are still waiting for answers who took their father from them way too soon. Although murders committed in Finland have no statute of limitations, it is unfortunately highly possible the Ulvila mystery will never be solved. The police no longer actively investigate the case unless something so significant is revealed that the case must be reopened. Until then we can only keep guessing what really happened in one of the weirdest and most complex cases in Finnish criminal history.


Outro:

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This was The Evidence Locker. Thank you for listening!


Resources

Ulvilan Surma 2. edition (password: ulvila) 

Murhalesken Muistelmat

Ulvilan Surma - Vaasan Hovioikeus Sentence - 12.12.2013

Syylliseksi kirjoitettu The murder in Ulvila

Anneli Auer peitepoliisi Seposta SK:ssa: "Hän olikin pahin petturi" Anneli Auerin seksuaalirikokset – näin tapahtumat etenivät Ulvilan surma: Tässä on salattu syy väitettyyn saatananpalvontaan

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Syyttä vangittu Kai Tanner tyytyi 11 000 euroon Ulvilan peitetoiminta: Menikö poliisi liian pitkälle?

Ulvilan murhasta kymmenen vuotta - Ex-pomo muistelee murhattua Jukka S. Lahtea Uhria uhkailtiin kuukausia

Näin Anneli Auer eli ennen Ulvilan murhaa: Lapsena hiljainen, pysyi edellisessä suhteessa vaikka odotti Jukka S. Lahden lasta


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Finland: The Ulvila Murder Case (Ulvilan Surma)


You are listening to: The Evidence Locker.


Disclosure:

Our cases have been researched using open source and archive materials. It deals with true crimes and real people. Some parts are graphic in nature and listener discretion is advised. Each episode is produced with the utmost respect to the victims, their families and loved ones. 


Intro:

In Finland, if you fall victim to homicide, your killer is almost certainly caught as, according to the statistics of the Police University of Applied Sciences, the homicide clearance rate is nearly one hundred percent.


Still, there are several murder mysteries that have gone years, even decades, without answers. Besides well-known cases, even outside Finnish borders, like the murder of Kyllikki Saari and the Lake Bodom murders, there is the bizarre case of the so-called "Ulvilan Surma" or Ulvila murder case. After 15 years and numerous trials, convictions and acquittals, an undercover policing operation and huge compensations, we are still no closer to knowing who stabbed and killed 51-year-old Jukka S. Lahti in his own home on the night of December 1, 2006.


Intro Music

Jukka S. Lahti was born in 1955. He was a social psychologist and had a master's degree in social sciences, a qualification Jukka was really proud of. Friends described him as being very sociable and talkative, somebody who had        an innate ability to get close to people. In addition, Jukka had a strong work ethic and was a hardworking employee who always participated in whatever was thrown his way. Through his work, Jukka eventually met a woman named Anneli Auer.


Anneli Auer, firstborn of X & Y, was born in Kaarina in March of 1965. Two and half years later, Anneli's younger brother was born. When the children were still very young, the family moved to Turku, where Anneli completed her primary education and attended Aurajoki Highschool.


Anneli was an excellent student but quiet and withdrawn. As one of her classmates recalls, she never seemed to be excited or impulsive like other youngsters. While Anneli had one friend, a girl with whom she spent all her time at school, they never met outside of school.


Anneli graduated with the best possible grade in every subject and ended up studying languages and sociology at the University of Turku. Four years later, Anneli continued her studies, this time at the Turku School of Economics.


Despite her stellar academic record, finding employment after graduation was not that easy. And so, Anneli was unemployed for a year before attending a course held by the Turku employment office. The leader of this course was social psychologist Jukka S. Lahti.


In the end, then 31-year-old Anelli was hired by that exact same employment office, where she shared an office with 41-year-old Jukka. The two got along extremely well, and before they could stop it, their friendship had turned romantic. The only problem was, at the time, neither of them was single. Jukka was     married, and Anneli lived with her boyfriend. Neither had children. Not yet.


As the affair continued, Anneli fell pregnant. Still, the two were not ready yet to give up their current relationships, and Anneli's boyfriend at the time recognised Jukka’s child as his own. Not surprisingly, the situation did not last, and eventually, when the baby was six months old, Jukka and Anneli left their respective relationships and moved in together in February of 1998. Soon after, they got married.


When Anneli had their second child, she began became aware of the baby weight on her body. As she had tried different kinds of diets since she was a teenager, she knew what to do to shake them off. And so, after setting up her own meal plan, she quickly lost eight kilograms. Soon Anneli realised this was the kind of work she could do while taking care of her children, and created a website called "Mammadieetti," meaning "Mommydiet." A couple of years later, Anneli put up another website called "Perhekerho" or "Familyclub," where she shared crafts and traveling tips. Anneli's online persona seemed practical and peaceful. She was a great administrator, who solved issues if and when they arose and refused to engage with trolls.


Then, in November 2002, the family moved to Ulvila after Jukka was offered a job at Luvata Oy as personnel development manager. They lived at 54 Tähtisentie in a quiet neighbourhood. The closest supermarket was one and a half kilometers away and Ulvila center only three. 


There, in their own tucked-away corner of the world, Anneli, Jukka and the children, four of them at this point, lived a quiet, isolated life. There were no visitors, and Anneli did not get to know the neighbors even though her kids were playing with other neighbourhood children. Jukka worked long hours during weekdays, and on the weekends, he loved spending time with his wife and children at home. The family never quite settled down in Ulvila and were dreaming about moving back to Turku, or perhaps even abroad. The only thing holding them back was Jukka's job. 


According to Anneli, after four years working at Luvata Oy, Jukka was frustrated. His job was no longer the same as what he had come to do, and Jukka felt like he was not appreciated. And so, he began to  make plans, either change jobs or start his own consulting firm. The idea of change felt good and exciting, he was looking forward to moving on.


In the September of 2006, the family traveled to Teneriffe for a week-long holiday – something they did as often as they could. Anneli later said that was the last time she was truly happy. Life was treating the family well, and they did not have a worry in the world. When Jukka saw an older couple, he whispered in Anneli's ear:


"That will be us in twenty years."

Anneli smiled. According to her, her relationship with Jukka was always loving, comfortable and blissful. They hardly ever disagreed and theirs was a home of harmony. There was no reason to think they would not grow old together. However, in just five short months all their hopes and dreams were shattered forever.


On November 30, 2006, Jukka left early in the morning to go to Turku. There he first visited a dental clinic before attending a seminar organised by the Turku employment office. Then Jukka went to see his sister, who lived in the city, and from there he attended the seminar again as it opened for the evening. Finally, according to the organisers, Jukka left for Ulvila around 10pm.


After that, we do not know for sure what happened at the house at Tähtisentie 54, but on December 1, 2006 at 2:43 AM, a 1-1-2 operator answered a call and heard a woman yelling down the line:


"There's a killer here, come quickly!"


The caller was Anneli Auer, who told the operator that someone had broken into their home and stabbed her husband. She herself was also wounded. The couple’s 2-, 4-, 7- and 9-year-old children were also in the house at the time of the attack.


During the 4 minute and 20-second emergency call, Anneli was absent for 59 seconds while her 9-year-old held the phone. We know for sure Jukka was still alive at this point, at least for part of the call, as his screams can be heard in the background, asking his wife for help. However, Anneli later told the operator that her husband had suddenly fallen silent.


Nine minutes from the start of the emergency call, police arrived. They found Jukka lying on his back, lifeless on the bedroom floor. His body was in front of the bathroom door, legs partly under the bed in a pool of blood with shards of glass scattered around him. Unfortunately, as soon as paramedics arrived, it was clear there was nothing they could do, and Jukka S. Lahti was pronounced dead at the scene.


As police examined the room, they noted that the window of the door that led to the patio was broken. They also found a bloody Fiskars-branded knife (manufactured before 1984) and a bloody piece of firewood. However, neither one of these turned out to be the murder weapon.


While Jukka had around 60 stab wounds, some superficial and some deeper, it was injury inflicted by a heavy and blunt object that caused his death. After the autopsy, it was reported Jukka had a 6cm x 2cm-sized hole in his head, on his right temple, that reached all the way into his brain. Another injury by the same tool was on the right side of Jukka's mouth, where a deep and well-defined wound had split his lips. It's been speculated that the object could have been a crowbar, an axe or perhaps even steak hammer. But as the murder weapon has never been located, we do not know for sure.


Due to Jukka's high number of injuries, his murder was described as a crime of passion. According to this theory, the killer was somebody who knew Jukka and possibly held a grudge towards him before things suddenly escalated. As Anneli had also been injured during the attack, she was taken to the hospital, where she gave her version of events.


According to Anneli, Jukka returned home around 11pm that evening from his work trip. The two went to bed approximately one hour later. Then, at 2:40am, they woke up to a loud noise: someone broke the window in the bedroom door that led to the backyard. Through the window jumped a man dressed in black with a hood covering his face. He immediately attacked Jukka, who grabbed pieces of firewood, in an attempt to protect himself.


As Anneli then tried to help her husband, the assailant turned to her and stabbed her in the chest with a knife. After realising the seriousness of the situation, Anneli fled the room, yelling to her children to get out. Unfortunately, they were sleeping too deep and did not hear their mother. Anneli then ran to the kitchen, where she called 1-1-2 from a landline.


At this point, the eldest child, Amanda, had woken up because of all the noise. Her room was the closest to the bedroom where her father was fighting for his life. Anneli asked her daughter to come to the phone to hold the line with the emergency service while she attempted to help Jukka. However, when the strange r attacked her once again, she was forced to leave the room. When Anneli came back to the phone, she had been away for 59 seconds. Amanda later said she also saw the attacker dressed in black clothing when he was exiting the window after killing her father.


Next, police began their investigation of the crime scene. Besides the knife and piece of firewood on the floor, another piece of firewood was found on the bloody bed with both Jukka's DNA and that of an unknown person’s. On the bed, there was also a black grip glove. Bloody prints made with the glove were discovered on the window frame in addition to bloody footprints both on the floor and outside on the terrace.


Initially, crime scene investigator Matti Mäkinen reported that the window in the bedroom door was broken from the outside, which makes sense if an intruder was breaking into the house. However, as there was glass both inside the bedroom and outside on the terrace, the police later questioned this view of events. But more about that later.


The investigators also found lots of brown synthetic fibers from the crime scene, but to this day, it is unclear where they came from. However, the important thing here is that these fibers were found on Jukka's clothes, under his fingernails, on the knife, the window frame, and the terrace, but not on Anneli. On her clothes, there were only fibers from the bedsheet on which she and Jukka had been sleeping before the attack.


As Jukka's killer was supposedly an outsider, police brought a dog to the scene in hopes of finding a scent trace. However, this happened 1 hour and 30 minutes after the murder had taken place, so the alleged man dressed in black had lots of time to disappear. On top of that, there had been many officers going in and out of the house at this point. So, the dog was unable to find a trace of somebody leaving the property through the backyard, but the police also neglected to check the front yard.


However, there was a short scent trail starting from an area of grass a couple of houses from the murder scene. Unfortunately, the trace ended on an asphalt road, and it was impossible to know who had walked there. It is noteworthy that the dog also did not mark any connection between Anneli and the Fiskars knife used in the murder.


During the investigation, police performed multiple reconstructions, including breaking the bedroom window and how easy or difficult it was to get inside that way, Anneli's possible moves during the 1-1-2 call and even the lighting in the house. The last re-enactment was done to prove that Anneli had not been able to see the strange man's facial features that night. 


Even though it might sound like a lot was done to catch Jukka's murderer, there were also many mistakes made during the investigation from the start. The crime scene was not isolated by the book, the house was not appropriately searched, and evidence even got destroyed. These mistakes would haunt the investigation for years to come.


At the beginning of the investigation, it was thought the motive of the murder had something to do with Jukka’s work. He had worked at Luvata Oy as a personnel development manager, but according to Anneli, Jukka had also gotten involved in unpleasant redundancy processes. The copper plant had laid off 400 employees, and it was possible that his advice had angered someone. The theory of personal vendetta was also supported by the fact Jukka had told his co-workers and close associates that he had been receiving threats since the previous spring. The nature of these threats and who was making them is unknown. Jukka also did not contact local police, so it is unclear how concerned he was about the situation. Or so everybody thought. 


It was later revealed that Jukka had, in fact, spoken to police multiple times in the months leading up to his murder. What was curious was that he had called police in Porvoo, a city almost 300km from Ulvila. He had called outside business hours, from his work phone. However, the content of the three to seven minutes long calls has never been uncovered.


Inspector Juha Joutsenlahti, the first Director of Investigation, sided with the the theory that there was a murderous intruder and put all the efforts towards finding this person. He asked help from the public to locate a vehicle: a red Volvo, that had been moving around the area at the time of the murder and also beforehand. However, this car was never found, and there is no certainty that it even was involved in the crime in any way. The police also released information stating they had the killer's DNA and that his voice could be heard on the 112-call recording. They even carried out the largest DNA sample gathering in Finnish history, collecting over 700 samples. Unfortunately, none of them was a match, and the police had unknowingly done lots of work, but had no results to show for it. You see, it was found out many years later, in 2013, that the unknown DNA found on the crime scene actually belonged to a police investigator. And so, one of the most critical pieces of evidence was lost.


Police brought in many suspects to be questioned during the first year of the investigation. Possibly the most famous person accused of killing Jukka S. Lahti was the actor Kai Tanner who was arrested in July 2007. He was held in prison for a total of seven days before he was quickly released after the police realized there was nothing to connect him to the murder. The reason Kai was a suspect in the first place was that one of Jukka's and Anneli's neighbors had given his name to the police at the very beginning of the investigation. Kai's picture had been then shown to Anneli several times, who thought that the actor had the same features as the Jukka's murderer, saying:


"The similarities I mentioned before fit very well with the facial features of the perpetrator. But I cannot 100% identify the man in picture # 4 as the killer."


Anneli was later asked to the police station to see the police identification lineup. Even though she remembered the strange man coming through the window taller than Kai, she picked him as a possible suspect. And so, the actor was arrested just to be released one week later as his DNA did not match the one found at the crime scene. The one that actually belonged to a police investigator. Nevertheless, deeply upset, Kai sought crisis assistance after his experience and later received 11 000 euros compensation from the government for unjustified deprivation of liberty and loss of earnings.


Then on February 2, 2008, Jukka's half-brother Jarmo A. told a curious story. According to him, during Jukka's funeral, there had been a strange man in the church parking lot and in the chapel, weirdly staring at them. However, nobody knew who the man was, and the event had not been publicly announced to anyone outside the family. In the end, the mystery man had run away, jumped over the cemetery fence and disappeared. To this day, his identity is unknown.


Then, in the spring of 2009, the whole investigation was turned on its head. The Director of the Investigation had been changed the previous August, and the new director, Pauli Kuusiranta, had a different theory. He put forward the idea that Anneli Auer was actually the one responsible for her husband's death. Psychologist Pirkko Lahti gave a statement saying that Anneli's behavior had been strange – she was too calm. His view was based on the recording of an emergency call and the video from the hospital where Anneli was questioned right after the murder.


However, Pirkko did not know that Anneli had been heavily sedated at the hospital as she had been crying hysterically when she was brought in. Still, according to Pirkko, who possibly knew that Anneli was a suspect at this point, said that Anneli answered and acted as if in a staged situation, calm and clearly analytical:


"It almost felt like watching a TV play."


The tapes were also evaluated by police psychologist Lasse Nurmi, who came to similar conclusions. Nobody seemed to care about the fact Anneli was medicated, and she had just gone through extreme trauma.


On December 1, 2008, director Pauli Kuusiranta gave an interview to evening newspaper, Iltalehti, in which he said that all lines of investigation were still open and the connections to Luvata Oy and Jukka's history in Turku were being studied. He was convinced that the murderer was going to get caught. After all, the Ulvila case was still the only unresolved homicide throughout his 36-year career. However, the truth was that at this point, police were not considering any other possibilities. To them, Anneli was the murderer.


Then, desperately needing evidence against Anneli, police decided to begin an undercover operation in April 2009. And so, one day, Anneli noticed a cell phone ringing on the snowy ground on the street. However, she was in a hurry, so she did not pick up the phone until later that evening. Once again, the phone rang and Anneli answered. The voice on the other end asked her to take the phone with her so the owner could later come to recover it. So Anneli did, and before she knew it, a tall and sporty-looking man appeared at her door, introducing himself as Seppo Mäkelä. Seppo was happy to get his phone back as, according to him, he had all his passwords saved inside. He even gave Anneli a reward, a chocolate bar and a gift card for the spa named Caribia in Turku. On the envelope of the gift card were Seppo's phone number and his email address.


The following day, the two met each other again by accident. As they stopped to have a short conversation, Seppo said:


"I met an angel twice yesterday. First, I heard some angel had picked up my phone. Then I came to your door, and when it was opened, I saw an angel."


After that, little by little, Anneli let Seppo get closer, who really seemed to have a mission to win Anneli's heart. Eventually the relationship grew quite serious. Seppo began to spend more and more time with the whole family. On one occasion he helped Anneli with car problems. Before long he was immersed in her life and took her to movies and kids to the waterpark Serena. At some point around May, Seppo opened up about his tragic past. He told Anneli in a long letter that one of his daughters had died in a car accident, which eventually led to divorce from his wife. Anneli then revealed what had happened to her husband. Seppo later said he had read about the case from Wikipedia and was not able to sleep well afterwards.


Seppo kept asking about Jukka and Anneli's previous boyfriend before the two had gotten together. He thought maybe the boyfriend could have had something to do with the murder. Perhaps he was jealous as Anneli had left him for another man and even had a baby while they had been still together. However, Anneli was not convinced of the theory and explained to Seppo why.


Later that Summer, Seppo began talking about moving in together to a new apartment after his trip to Sweden. Anneli suggested that Seppo could move in with her and the children as they were looking for a new house in Turku anyway. Seppo promised to think about it and made it clear that Anneli was the first woman he had wanted a serious relationship with since his separation.


Then, on August 26, 2008, came a reminder that the family was in the middle of a murder investigation. Anneli's eldest daughter Amanda was suddenly taken to be questioned again, and Anneli was left without any proper information about what was happening. However, during the interview, Amanda did not change her story of what happened that night her father was killed, but the investigators were doing their best to make her change her mind. For example, social worker Satu Kivimäki asked:


"Is it possible, Amanda, that you had heard somebody talking about what happened, and after that, you began to remember like you had seen it yourself? Is something like that possible?”


Amanda replied,


"But I was the only one who saw it, how could anyone else talk about it?"


At the same time, Seppo was talking with Anneli, asking about the details of the investigation and the murder:


"Were you a suspect when Jukka got killed?"


Anneli then explained that, of course, she had been a suspect, and they had gone through all her laptops and phones and questioned her about other men. But to her knowledge, she was not a suspect anymore. However, that was not enough for Seppo, who kept asking:


"Annu, tell me... Tell me...I do not care one bit if you did it, but I want to know...tell me... Annu, did you do it?"


Anneli was feeling confused but answered that she did not have any reason to kill Jukka, and it would not have been even possible, according to evidence. Still, Seppo pushed one more time, saying it was alright and he just wanted to know, causing Anneli to raise her voice a little:


"I didn't do it!" 


Finally, it seemed that Seppo believed what he was told and said.


"Whatever happens, I will be by your side until the end."


However, that end came rather quickly when on September 2, 2009, Seppo sent a break-up letter to Anneli claiming that his old traumas were coming back as he was with her and at the same time in the middle of a murder investigation. According to him, his head was a mess, and he was not good company to anybody at the time. Seppo concluded his letter saying,


"Write me if you feel like it. I completely understand if I will never hear from you again."


However, Seppo's actions, in the end, were not much of a surprise for Anneli, who had started to doubt the man's real motives. He had been asking too many questions about Jukka’s death and had also made some strange remarks about the case. Seppo also had never invited Anneli to his home or told her where he worked. The two also never had sex during their six months together. Anneli had begun to think maybe Seppo was a journalist, amateur sleuth or even the murderer himself who came back. However, she would not get to know the true identity of Seppo Mäkelä until much later.


On September 28, 2009, Anneli was arrested on probable grounds for suspicion of murdering her husband, Jukka S. Lahti. The investigators had put together a theory of what had happened that unfortunate night almost two years earlier and were convinced of her guilt.


According to the police, on November 30, 2006, Jukka had returned home from Turku around 11pm and soon, an argument broke out between him and Anneli. According to this theory, the husband and wife were very different people whose values and morals did not align, and so they were on the edge of getting a divorce. The argument escalated, and objects began to fly across the room before they picked firewood and knives as weapons. Jukka was the first one with the knife in his hand, and he stabbed Anneli in her chest. Anneli then got the knife for herself and began stabbing her husband until he lost consciousness.


At this point, Anneli began staging the room, so it looked like an intruder had broken in. According to the prosecutor, Anneli broke the window in the bedroom door and made bloody boot prints using Jukka's shoes. Afterward, Anneli called 1-1-2, but while she was on the phone, Jukka regained consciousness and started to scream in pain. As a result, Anneli asked Amanda to come to the phone while she went back to the bedroom to make sure Jukka was dead, hitting him over the head. As a result, his shouts for help can no longer be heard on the emergency call recording. However, the prosecutor also had an alternative theory which included the idea Jukka was already dead when Anneli called 1-1-2 and screams heard in the background were just a recording.


According to prosecutor, Anneli also had somehow managed to hide the murder weapon and her alleged bloody clothes so well that they have never been found.


Two days after her arrest and after endless interrogations, Anneli confessed to murdering her husband. The confession, however, was very questionable. As she had been questioned for hours, with almost no sleep. Anneli was exhausted. The police also claimed that they had completely excluded the possibility of the killer being an outsider. More pressure was added by saying if Anneli would just confess, she would maybe be able to see their children. According to Anneli, she did not know what was real and what was not anymore. And so, when she finally confessed, she did not actually tell the story as "This is what I did." Instead, Anneli retold the story, as it was told to her by police. Anneli later revoked the confession.


Unfortunately, that did not stop the media circus. Before her trial even started, newspapers published articles with titles like: "Ulvila's murder mystery solved. Wife confessed" AND "Widow confessed to the murder of husband police thinking of charges" and another one read "From supermom to murderer".


Anneli Auer was quickly branded guilty by the tabloids, and hers, as well as her family’s lives were analysed to the last details. When the first trial then began on April 14, 2010, the whole of Finland was talking about the case and already had an opinion.


One of the most important pieces of evidence presented in court was the emergency call recording. Even though there are many different transcription variations, one used during the trial was done by Police Sound Investigator Tuija Niemi. She claimed she did not hear an outside attacker or sounds of struggle on the tape. However, she had also left out Jukka's screams for help in her transcription that can be heard very clearly. Instead, Tuija claimed she heard part of a word on the tape, maybe Anneli yelling "-uole." That word as a whole would be "kuole," meaning ‘die’ in English. It can be heard just before Jukka let out his final loud cry and then went silent. Also, according to the prosecutor, Anneli's claim that the whole attack had lasted just a few minutes could not be accurate. Based on the victim's injuries and blood evidence, the prosecutor claimed the attack lasted at least 15-20 minutes before Jukka succumbed to his injuries.


Of course, Anneli's defense has an entirely different opinion of what can be heard on the tape. According to them, the voices of the strange man can be heard, and the tape also proves that Anneli did not simply have enough time to kill her husband and also stage the scene. Jukka can also be clearly heard desperately asking for help from his wife, stating her name. Besides the tape, the most significant points in Anneli's defense were the fact that the murder weapon had never been found, nor had the alleged bloody clothes she had been wearing during the murder. Furthermore, her daughter, Amanda, had said she had seen the strange man dressed in black inside their house.


During the trial, Anneli also learned the truth about Seppo Mäkinen. He was an undercover police officer who duped her into trusting so he could get information about Jukka's murder. Anneli felt she had been horribly betrayed and even later said the police owed her a public apology, which she never received.


Still, despite all the efforts and lack of evidence, Anneli Auer was eventually found guilty of the murder of Jukka S. Lahti. The decision was not unanimous, as one of the judges would have wanted to acquit. Nevertheless, the district court sentenced Anneli to life in prison on November 12, 2010.


Unsurprisingly Anneli appealed to Vaasan Hovioikeus. While Hovioikeus literally translates to Royal Court, it just means the second level of the Finnish judicial system. Anneli's appeal paid off as this time, the end result was different. Based on her and her eldest child's testimony, as well as on the bloody footprints and the brown fibers found from the crime scene and the fact the police had not located the murder weapon, the murder charge was dismissed July 1, 2011.


However, that was not the end of it. As the police received information from Anneli's brother, with whom her children were now living, saying that the younger children had started to talk about the night of the murder, police continued their investigation. As a result, the Supreme Court of Finland decided to send the case back to Satakunta District Court because of the new evidence presented.


The case went to court again on August 20, 2013. According to the prosecutor, the additional investigation brought clarity to events prior to the attack and the motive behind it. At the beginning of the trial, he dropped a bomb nobody was expecting. The prosecutor claimed that Jukka's murder might have had something to do with satanism. Apparently, this idea came from Anneli's children. The prosecutor found it important enough to mention at the court but later dismissed it as just a really small sideline of the investigation. Also, the stories of the children were the reason the case was allowed back to court, and still, for the most part, the prosecutor leaned on the same event description as the first time around. According to him, the motive for the murder had been Jukka's wishes to end the marriage due to different life values, as Anneli had allegedly taken their children to shoplift and that did not sit right with Jukka.


The children's statements were later released, and they included, among others, the following claims:


"A child said that they heard the buttons on the cassette recorder on the night of murder. The sounds of the murder were then repeated from the tape as Anneli made an emergency call."


Another claim was:


“One of the children told in a video how Auer planned to kill her loved ones in Turku. Another child again said in the video her mother was considering arson.”


And also:


"The children also talked about the satanic worship rituals performed in the Turku apartment, where they killed dozens of mice, several birds and three cats."


There has been a huge debate whether or not there was any truth in the children's stories, who were all very young at the time of their father's death. Nevertheless, Anneli Auer was once again found guilty on December 12, 2012, and sentenced to life in prison. Again, Anneli appealed to Vaasan Hovioikeus. 


There, judges considered it very likely an outsider had been in the house based on the evidence.


They also did not find the statements of the youngest children very believable, and they felt the lack of evidence left too much room for doubt. And so, Anneli's murder charge was dismissed again on February 19, 2015.


As the Supreme Court of Finland did not grant leave to appeal, it meant Anneli Auer was finally permanently free of the charges regarding her husband's death.


But that did not mean she was free to walk out of prison. As if there had not been enough twists and turns in this case, in September 2011, when in the middle of a murder trial, Anneli and her ex-boyfriend had been charged with aggravated sexual offenses. On June 29, 2012, the district court of Turku sentenced Anneli to seven years in prison for two aggravated rape and three accounts of child sexual exploitation. The ex-boyfriend was sentenced to 10 years in prison. These crimes had happened between 2007 and 2009.


As a first-time offender, Anneli was released from prison on June 3, 2016, and put on probation after serving half of her sentence. Later that year, she received 545,800-euro compensation for time spent behind bars as an innocent person.


On September 6, 2016, Anneli Auer published a book called "Murhalesken Muistelmat" or "Murderwidow's Memoirs." In the book, she gives a chronological account of events before the murder, what happened on the night, and years of investigations and her days in court. Anneli also tells about the wrongdoings of the police and how the media published all kinds of false information. She mentions the research done by Tampere University called "Syylliseksi kirjoitettu" or "Written guilty," that investigated how Ulvila murder case and Anneli was treated by the news both on paper and online. According to Anneli, the case and its mistakes have to be examined carefully, so we can learn and prevent something like this from ever happening again. In the last two sentences of the book, Anneli thinks about the future: 


“I think hopefully and cautiously that the worst is now behind me. Life is still going to be good for all of us. Not like it was before, but good in some new way.”


While Anneli has been adapting to her new life, the fact remains we do not know who killed her husband almost 15 years ago. Jukka’s children are still waiting for answers who took their father from them way too soon. Although murders committed in Finland have no statute of limitations, it is unfortunately highly possible the Ulvila mystery will never be solved. The police no longer actively investigate the case unless something so significant is revealed that the case must be reopened. Until then we can only keep guessing what really happened in one of the weirdest and most complex cases in Finnish criminal history.


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