California man wanted over Brno murders detained after fleeing to US

Kevin Dahlgren, photo: CTK

Police in Brno have said an American man wanted in connection with the murder of a Czech family in Brno had been arrested after stepping off a flight from Vienna to Washington D.C. Twenty-year-old Kevin Dahlgren was being sought by police in both the Czech Republic and abroad after four bodies were discovered in the house in Brno where he was staying. According to Czech media reports, the victims were relatives.

Kevin Dahlgren,  photo: CTK
Kevin Dahlgren, according to his Facebook profile originally from Palo Alto in California, was arrested shortly after landing at Dulles international airport in Washington DC on Thursday afternoon. He’d checked in to the United Airlines flight from Vienna on Thursday morning, triggering an alert to the EU’s Schengen information system. The captain and crew were informed he was wanted for a quadruple murder and that detectives in DC were waiting with handcuffs to arrest him. It’s still not known how he travelled to Vienna; the Austrian capital is, however, just a short train ride from Brno. Leos Trzil is the head of South Moravia police.

“As far as the case itself is concerned, a family of four was murdered, and we’re not willing to go into any more detail at this stage out of respect for the victims’ families. As far as the suspect is concerned, the authorities are considering a request for his extradition from the US to the Czech Republic, but this is a matter for the Ministry of Justice and others involved in the case.”

Whether Mr Dahlgren will ever stand trial here is hard to say; the United States rarely extradites its citizens. The Czech Justice Ministry now has two months to process a request.

Police have refused to comment on claims in the Czech media that the victims were Mr Dahlgren’s aunt, her husband, and their two sons – his cousins, aged 25 and 16. The father and one of the two sons were musicians in a local ukulele band; the mother was a local primary school teacher.

Leoš Tržil,  photo: CTK
Detectives have been quoted as saying the murders were brutal; committed with knives and other implements but not firearms. Neighbours had called the fire brigade after seeing smoke coming from their garage; according to some reports this was an attempt to burn the bodies.

Nothing is known about a possible motive for the killings. Kevin Dahlgren had been in the Czech Republic for just three weeks, and according to Czech Television had been treated for psychiatric problems in the US. Living with his aunt’s family in Moravia was supposed to mark the beginning of a new chapter, the tabloid Blesk claimed, one that ended in tragedy.