Croatian Court Detains Sister After Body Found in Freezer

ZAGREB, Croatia—A Croatian court on Feb. 20, ordered one month’s detention for a woman suspected of killing her younger sister, whose body was found in a freezer more than 18 years after she went missing.

The news came as hundreds of people attended the funeral Wednesday for the missing woman, Jasmina Dominic, in her village of Palovec, northeast of Zagreb, the capital.

The court in the northern town of Varazdin said the sister, Smiljana Srnec, must remain in detention because she could influence witnesses or flee during the investigation.

Smiljani Srnec, 45, is now in prison while she goes through legal proceedings process during an investigation.

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Jasmina Dominic was reported missing in 2005 but was last seen in 2000 when she was 23 years old. Local reports said a family member found her body Saturday in a freezer in the Dominic family home in Palovec.

Speaking before the autopsy, the local mayor Ivan Sokac urged people to be patient and not to jump to conclusions. “From the date of finding out that Jasmina Dominic disappeared, extensive criminal investigations were carried out,” he told Emedjimurje. “We will supply you with complete chronology, with all that we did and what we did not do.”

Police said when they investigated the missing person case back in 2005, her family misled them by claiming that Dominic was living abroad and that they were in touch with her.

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According to media reports, the family said that she had gone to work in France when she was just 23, and was only reported as missing five years later on Aug. 16, 2005.

Authorities found the body wrapped in cellophane according to news outlet SATA24. Some outlets reported that the corpse had been found after a power cut caused the freezer’s contents to thaw, and the smell of the decomposing corpse spread. Srnec’s husband said that the rumors of the power cut were not true, reported Alo.

“They [family] turned us in other directions,” police spokesman Nenad Risak said of the initial investigation into Dominic’s disappearance, reported AP. “We checked the house [during the investigation] … but didn’t have information anything could have happened at home.”

An autopsy identified the cause of death as two or more blows to the head, officials said on Feb. 20, reported

The missing woman’s mother is traveling from Germany, where she has spent most of her working life, reported the news outlet, to attend the funeral.

Croatian media reported an autopsy showed that Dominic had suffered at least two blows in the head with a blunt instrument.

The case has shocked Croatia, with many wondering how it was possible that the family had lived for so long with a body hidden in the house.

The Associated Press and The Epoch Times reporter Simon Veazey contributed to this report.