Swedish police were racing yesterday to assemble evidence against a man arrested as the top suspect in the killing of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, pinning their hopes on DNA testing.
Detectives were also piecing together a profile of the suspect, with Swedish media portraying him as an enigmatic personality, equally at home in neo-Nazi circles as in the upper echelons of Stockholm society.
"Time is essential," police spokeswoman Stina Wessling told a news conference, called after the suspect's first night in jail.
Swedish police can only hold a suspect for three days before a fresh detention order has to be issued on the basis of evidence. Preliminary DNA testing can typically take up to 24 hours.
Police arrested the man, as yet unnamed, at 9:07pm Tuesday in a pub-restaurant next to the Raasunda stadium in Stockholm's Solna suburb, where he had been watching a football match on a giant screen.
They moved within hours of announcing that an arrest warrant had been issued for him in connection with the murder of Lindh, who died on Sept. 11, a day after being stabbed in a Stockholm department store.
Wessling said DNA samples had been taken overnight and were being analyzed.
Police hope that the genetic testing will link the man to the crime scene, where police recovered blood traces, a knife, a baseball cap and a sweatshirt apparently belonging to the assailant, who fled on foot.
The man had not yet been formally questioned, as no lawyer to defend him had been appointed, Wessling said.
Yesterday police were careful to stress that they were still following other leads in the hunt for Lindh's killer.
But police relief was palpable in Wessling's voice when she spoke to reporters shortly after the arrest.
"We are satisfied," she said.