The wife of one of Norway’s richest men disappears without a trace. What remains is a mysterious footprint and a ransom note. But then the mysterious case takes a new turn. Norway is still puzzling today: What happened to Anne-Elisabeth Hagen?

Hardly any criminal case has occupied Norway as much as that of Anne-Elisabeth Hagen. The millionaire’s wife disappeared without a trace four years ago, FOCUS online also reported. All that remained was a ransom demand.

Since then, countless journalists have been puzzling over the crime, Hagen’s name is on book titles, and Netflix even produced a series about the case. As the years go by, more questions arise. The search for an answer leads to the dark web.

It is October 31, 2018. Tom Hagen leaves his house in a quiet residential area in Lørenskog, not far from Oslo, at around nine o’clock. When he returns from work at 1:30 p.m., there is no trace of his then 68-year-old wife Anne-Elisabeth. On a chair in the hallway he finds a letter containing a ransom demand of the equivalent of nine million euros in cryptocurrency – otherwise his wife will die.

Hagen immediately notifies the police. The self-made millionaire comes from a humble background and has worked his way up in the real estate and energy industries for decades. He is now one of the richest people in Norway.

There is nothing to be seen of his fortune on the outside. The nondescript family home is surrounded by a hedge, there are no security fences or cameras. The perpetrator or perpetrators could simply knock on the front door.

In the weeks that followed, the investigations were in full swing. The criminal police work undercover, the danger is too great that the kidnappers will find out about it and kill Anne-Elisabeth Hagen. Neighbors of the Hagens are questioned under a pretext, investigators use civilian cars with fake license plates when they drive to Lørenskog.

In the Hagens’ bathroom, the officers found traces of grinding. They suspect that the perpetrator overpowered the woman here. They also discover a shoe print in size 45 – the police are still puzzling to this day to whom it belongs.

Tom Hagen transfers 1.3 million euros to the alleged kidnappers via a crypto platform. For a sign of life from his wife, he promises further transactions – in vain.

At the beginning of January 2019, the Norwegian police went public with the case, but that did not bring any new information either. However, when the officials in the Hagens’ house find divorce papers signed by Anne-Elisabeth Hagen, the case suddenly takes a new turn: the police are no longer talking about kidnapping, they’re talking about murder.

The husband Tom Hagen is suspected. According to experts, in the event of a divorce, he would have to give up a considerable part of his assets.

Another find strengthens the suspicion: Evidence that Tom Hagen met with a crypto expert several months before his wife disappeared. Officials don’t believe the ransom happened to be demanded in cryptocurrency.

Police bugged Hagen’s home, tapped his phone and tracked his car trips. He was arrested on April 28, 2020, but the evidence is thin. Hagen has an alibi for the morning hours of October 31, 2018, he was at work – and there is no body.

After a few days in custody, Hagen is released again. No charges were ever brought against him, and the presumption of innocence applies to him without reservation. He remains the main suspect to this day. “Statistically, the husband is most often the perpetrator when the wife disappears,” says crime writer and ex-inspector Jørn Lier Horst.

The police have strong doubts that they are actually dealing with kidnappers. Because the alleged perpetrators rarely get in touch, it almost seems as if they didn’t want the money at all. Only a few times does Tom Hagen contact them via a crypto exchange.

Ole Henrik Golf, a young founder of a tech startup from Norway, suddenly becomes the focus of the investigation. The account of the alleged perpetrators on the crypto platform runs through the mail Account owner’s name: Ole Henrik Golf.

The police pick him up at Oslo Airport and question him. He tells that he is interested in crypto and privately invests in Bitcoin. The officials did not answer why he was being questioned.

Officials find out that Golf’s passport was copied and sold on the dark web some time ago. Trading in forged or stolen documents is extremely popular there. The e-mail address was specially set up. So unknown people used Golf’s identity. An accident?

On the other hand speaks a tiny but important detail. Said crypto account has a postal address: Store Elvegate 16A. It belongs to Golf’s then newly founded company. He put the address online on July 2, 2018 – just five days later, the alleged murderers used the address for their crypto account. Even today, Golf wonders whether the perpetrators monitored him – and perhaps still do.

The case does not let go of Norway. To mark the fourth anniversary, Netflix has released a series about the crime, Disappeared in Lørenskog. Many Norwegians are now skeptical that the country will ever know what happened to Anne-Elisabeth Hagen.

However, Jørn Lier Horst has hope. In an interview with “Spiegel” he says: “What the perpetrators cannot foresee is technical progress.” He has often seen how murders have been solved decades later thanks to improved forensic technology. Traces that have hitherto been a dead end suddenly became readable.

“Things change quickly, especially in the digital world,” says Horst. The investigators have not yet succeeded in tracing back the crypto trail, but that may change in the future.