Swedish police dropped charges against a mother suspected of holding her son captive for 28 years after he admitted being able to come and go as he pleased.
The 70-year-old was arrested earlier this week after her 41-year-old son was found inside her filthy Stockholm flat, covered in sores and with no teeth.
Officers had initially charged the woman with deprivation of liberty and abuse, but have now dropped the charges after interviewing the son in hospital.
Prosecutors said the case has been referred to social services, but is not a criminal matter because the man had not been physically restrained and his wounds were due to illness, not physical violence.
The woman’s daughter, who was the one who discovered her malnourished brother said her mother was only protecting ‘her favourite child’.
The boy was named after an elder son, who had died some time in the 1970s.
The case came to light when the man’s sister broke into the flat while their mother was in hospital and found him.
The man was severely malnourished, had sores and open wounds covering his legs, almost no teeth, and was struggling to walk and talk.
The sister said she had not seen her brother for over 20 years, but he recognised her and kept whispering her name over and over.
It is thought the mother had kept him a virtual prisoner in the apartment since pulling him out of school aged just 12 in 1991.
Neighbours said the mother kept her apartment in a dilapidated state, with an advent candle standing in one window for around 30 years.
One neighbour reported seeing the son while out shopping over the summer, and said he approached and told her: ‘I know who you are, you’re my neighbour.’
But most claimed never to have seen the man, or to have realised he was living in their apartment building until after officers arrived.