Askim church was already full an hour before the funeral started at 10.30. There were not enough seats for everyone gathered to remember twins Mina Alexandra and Mille Andrea Hjalmarsen.
The church in Indre Østfold was decorated with many greetings and flowers.
The ceremony started with Trygve Skaug singing “Kommer det storm”. A great many of those present were clearly affected.
The twin sisters were found lifeless in a home in Spydeberg on the night of 8 January. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
A third girl of the same age was taken to hospital. She was friends with the twins and is present at the church today.
– She fears, among other things, because it will then be completely final for her what has happened, that the twins are dead. However, she is also looking forward to participating in the funeral, said the girl’s legal aid lawyer Hilde Jæger just before the funeral.
Twin sisters Mina and Mille had a strong bond throughout their lives. They were buried in the same coffin.
In the obituary, the family writes:
“Two destinies, one life. Together you came into our lives, together you have now left us.”
Municipal director of Indre Østfold Trude Andresen was also present in the church.
– We are here to show our condolences to the family and all those affected. It was a beautiful and dignified funeral, says Andresen.
The youth health center in Askim has extended its opening hours on Wednesday. Young people who need to talk can visit the health centre, which is open from 11.30am to 4.30pm.
Two men charged
On the night of Sunday 8 January, large resources from the emergency services moved to an address in Spydeberg in Indre Østfold municipality. The twin girls were found dead at the scene.
They had then been missing from the child welfare institution Fossumkollektivet for about a day. They had lived there, in two different places, since September last year.
Police believe the girls died of a drug overdose.
A third, 16-year-old girl was taken to hospital after a possible overdose. She has now been discharged from the hospital and returned to the Fossum Collective.
– She is having a hard time. It has gradually become more and more difficult for her after she moved back to the Fossum collective, says welfare lawyer Jæger.
Two men have been charged in the case. A man in his 20s is charged with negligent homicide, while an 18-year-old man is charged with having sold drugs to the girls, and for to have left them in a helpless condition.
None of the men plead guilty.
– They were beautiful, colorful girls
– They were beautiful, colorful girls who always spread lots of joy. Everyone who has been around the twins has said that they are girls who go straight to their hearts. They were so naturally beautiful.
That’s what Mina and Mille’s mother Kirsti Skogsholm said in a longer interview with TV 2 last weekend.
The twin sisters developed serious eating disorders when they were in secondary school. Eventually they became too ill to stay at home.
The mother tells the channel that the daughters had at least twelve different placements in child care before they died.
– We feel that the girls are portrayed as two heavy drug addicts who chose to go down that path themselves. That was not the case, said Skogsholm.
Requires better cooperation
Indre Østfold municipality is now working to look after the young people in the local community.
– The most important thing now is to take care of those who are closest to and most affected here. Then we will assess how we will follow up those young people who need it, says municipal director Trude Andresen.
Earlier this week, children’s ombudsman Inga Bejer Engh called for better cooperation between the health system and child protection.
– It is still the case that the child welfare services are often left with a great deal of responsibility themselves, if they are unable to help the child well enough based on the competence and the framework they have, Engh said to TV 2.
The state administrator in Oslo and Viken has opened supervision after the deaths. They will investigate whether the sisters received proper follow-up from child protection in the time before they were found dead.
In the wake of the deaths in Spydeberg, Minister for Children and Families Kjersti Toppe (Sp) has asked the Norwegian Health Authority investigate all deaths linked to child welfare institutions in the last five years.