The authorities on Gran Canaria have been engaged in a rigorous search for Swedish tourist Anna-Karin Bengtsson, who went missing in the south of Gran Canaria around April 9. Her unexplained disappearance has caused her family much distress, with no clues to her whereabouts having emerged in the six weeks since they first realised her phone was no longer functioning.
52-year-old Anna-Karin Bengtsson, a mother of two, was last seen in person on April 9. Her last known phone conversation was with her daughter. Joakim Axling, her brother, says that she apparently left her apartment around 1:40 p.m., wearing flip-flops and a white kimono over light clothing. The family, and the authorities, have been able to review surveillance footage from the apartment complex where Anna-Karin owned an apartment, purchased about a year and a half ago; where she is well acquainted with her neighbours. The flip-flops Anna-Karin was wearing have not since been found in her apartment.
Swedish missing persons organisation, Frivilliga FIKK Sweden, led by operations director Kajsa Berggren, has been trying to assist the official efforts, having raised more than €6,500 in donations and organising volunteers to conduct amateur search operations, supported by local Norwegian journalist Bård Ove Myhr, by boat between Puerto Rico and San Agustín, and then with the help of professional videographer and drone pilot, Jesús Sagastizábal, along the southern and western coastlines, passing Puerto de Mogán and up to La Aldea. However there is currently no evidence whatsoever that Anna-Karin might have entered the sea.
Joakim Axling says firmly that his sister would never have vanished willingly, with the family eagerly awaiting information from the National Police in locating Anna-Karin’s mobile phone. Despite being initially told it would take four to six days, they have been waiting for three weeks to find out where the device was last located.
The missing woman arrived on Gran Canaria last March 31, and seems to have spent a significant amount of time at her family’s apartment in Playa del Inglés, working on her doctoral thesis on special education and textbook writing. Approximately a year and a half ago, Anna-Karin and her family purchased the apartment, and she seems to have been known among her neighbours.
On April 4, she visited a Banco Santander branch in San Agustín, which is a ten-minute drive from her home in Playa del Inglés. On April 6, she was seen among the German-Speaking Evangelical Community at around 5:30 p.m.
On April 8, Anna-Karin checked in at the Abora Buenaventura hotel in Playa del Inglés. Surveillance footage shows her alone at the premises. On April 9, security cameras captured her at the hotel reception, where she settled her bill and checked out. She is then seen, sat in the hotel lobby, using her laptop. She sent a message with her doctoral thesis for corrections before returning to her apartment and then calling her daughter at about 4:00 p.m. Later, her computer, chargers, passport, and ID card were all found in the apartment. On April 10, the family found that her mobile phone was off.
The mysterious disappearance of Anna-Karin has raised many questions and concerns within the local community, and foreign resident communities across the south of the island. Anna-Karin Bengtsson was not known for going out drinking and in fact rarely consumes alcohol. The authorities are continuing their extensive search efforts in the hopes of finding her and providing answers for her family, anxious to see her safely returned. After 41 days, nearly six weeks, there are still more questions than answers.