The Karina Holmer brutal murder was a shocking case and therefore, it has received a lot of coverage. Even with the vast interest, this case remains open and unsolved to this day. There are 3 notable suspects in this case that people have spoken about mostly in whispers for years, but nothing concrete enough to bring an arrest was ever uncovered.
Karina was a 1994 high school graduate from a small town in Sweden called, Alaryd. She went to school to learn the restuarant business but after she reportedly won a local lottery for about $1500, decided to use a illegal nanny broker service to take a job with a family in Massachusetts arriving in March of 1996. This was the family of two artists, Frank Rapp and Susan Nichter and at the time their kids were a son in the first grade and a daughter, 3 year old. Official paperwork was never completed so technically, Karina did not have the proper work Visa.
Karina seems to do most of her work with the children during the week at the Dover home and on the weekend she often stayed at Rapp’s loft at 327 A Street in Boston and went to visit the areas clubs with her fake ID in hand. She had no problem getting in because she looked much older than her 20 years.
The mystery of this case is that Karina was cutting her trip short. She told friends that something happened and she would explain when she came home. Her sister is unaware of what the problem could have been, but her plan was to return in August.
The night that she disappeared was Friday June 21, 1996. She went to the loft as usual and met her friends. The group went out to Club Zanzibar in Boston to celebrate the Summer Solstice, and Karina was last seen around 3 am on June 22nd, after her friends apparently all left with some men they had met. Her body was found on Sunday morning, June 23rd, in a dumpster at 1091 Boyleston Street – well the top half of her body was found. The lower half was never located. A homeless man was looking for cans when he found her when her arm popped out of the trash bag she was in. Autopsy indicated Karina was strangled with a ligature. She was afterwards, cleanly sawed in half right below her ribs and above her pelvis between two vertebrae. The clean cut drew suspicion that someone with medical training or a butcher may have involvement. There were also marks on her wrists indicating at some point her hands were tied. Although a lot was made of the possibility, testing revealed she was not pregnant. Her make-up had been washed off which is another mystery from this case. Did she make it back to the loft and get ready for bed before she was killed? Did the killer wash off her make-up and, if so, why?
The only evidence of note was a partial fingerprint was recovered from the two large trash bags that contained her body. The finger print was never identified.
A mysterious fire also occurred in the dumpster outside the Rapp property the Monday after she was found. There was nothing of note found in the search of the dumpster noted anywhere that I could locate.
There are many suspects that have been questioned in this case but nothing has ever definitively tied anyone to her murder.
There are many sources available if you are interested in finding out more. I really enjoyed listening to Crime Junkie’s podcast on the case so if you find an interest, please check that out. A link is below, but I believe the podcast can be found anywhere you can listen to podcasts.
If you have any information that might be helpful in solving this crime, please reach out to Boston Police Homicide Unit at (617) 343-4470.