Drama that lasted for years

Katarzyna Woynarowska

Almost everyone has heard about the case of Krzysztof Olewnik. Kidnapped in 2001 the son of a businessman from Plock was kept in inhuman conditions and finally murdered by his kidnappers. His family paid the ransom of 300,000 euros but he was not saved. The Olewniks are convinced that it were the tardiness and cardinal negligence of the police that brought about the tragedy.

Krzysztof’s father Wlodzimierz Olewnik is still fighting to reveal the whole truth connected with the tragedy of his son. He wants to know who the decision-maker was, who organised the kidnapping, who ordered to hold Krzysztof for such a long time and finally, who ordered his murder. But not only that. Olewnik wants to get to know what the investigation of the police and the prosecutors looked like. Since this story has too many question marks and unfortunate coincidences, too many bad events that led to the death of this young man.
The list of accusations brought by the Olewniks is unusually long and the activities of the judiciary seem to be some incomprehensible game, which can be logically explained only when we use the measure of the Olewniks and their lawyers – deliberate murderous plan that was conducted with premeditation, plan the participants of which could be some officials of the judiciary.
Let us briefly mention the chronology of the events. In October 2001 Krzysztof Olewnik was kidnapped from his home in Drobin near Plock. He was a young businessman trading steel, a son of the owners of meat works located in the vicinity of Plock. He was kidnapped during the night when there was a meeting with some policemen in the house. The host did not drink any alcohol and he gave ride to his guests. The kidnappers waited on the other side of the road. Someone left open the doors to the balcony. The kidnappers could enter in freely. The family phoned the police at once, even before the kidnappers contacted them. Two days later the kidnappers demanded 300,000 euro, a trifle really, for Krzysztof’s life. However, almost two years passed before the ransom was picked up. Several dozen attempts to pay the ransom were not successful. For the next two years the kidnappers regularly contacted the family. They were very clever. The Olewniks received letters written by kidnapped Krzysztof or received phone calls during which his recorded voice was played. One could hear that Krzysztof was forced to say the words and that he was beaten. However, the police concluded that Krzysztof had kidnapped himself although according to the family there was no evidence to prove this thesis. ‘Why could he have done this?’, asks the father. He had no reasons at all. Very soon the family became suspicious about the competences of the police. The mistakes in the investigation were cardinal. Here are only some examples from the long list prepared by the family’s lawyers. Not all traces found on the spot were sent to analysis; although the kidnappers contacted the family several times the police did not check any phone call, where they were from; moreover, they did not record the phone calls with the kidnappers; the gathered materials were not analysed; when Mr Olewnik had received an anonymous letter with the names of the kidnappers 9 months before his son was killed the police did not make any effort to check the information. ‘They underestimated the matter and even tried to convince me that there was no anonymous letter at all’, Wlodzimierz Olewnik says. ‘The police constantly endorses a thesis of self-kidnapping, which makes the whole matter a case of family warfare’, adds Ireneusz Wilk, the family’s lawyer. When the kidnappers made another attempt to settle the way of picking up the ransom the family wrote down the numbers of the notes and Danuta, Krzysztof’s sister took the money to hand it to the bandits. No one instructed her what to do. By the way, from the beginning the Olewniks were not instructed how to talk to the kidnappers. The police did not even give a bulletproof vest to the woman. Thus the kidnappers took the money undisturbed and disappeared… Almost two months later they murdered Krzysztof.
By the way, the police did not check whether the notes for the ransom appeared somewhere. The Polish police informed the Interpol about the money only a year after the criminals had seized it. According to the Olewniks the police could have found the criminals getting to bottom of the matter and what’s more they could have prevented the death of tortured Krzysztof who had lived two years being chained to the wall and he spent the last two months of his life in the concrete septic tank. But the evidence that could have brought the police to the criminals was in the desks of the policemen who made the investigation. That happened to the famous VHS tape that recorded the moment when the leader of the criminal group had been buying a cell phone. The tape was recorded in 2001, a month after Krzysztof’s kidnapping and it showed the leader of the kidnappers buying the cell phone which he used to call the Olewnik family. The police in Plock questioned the shop assistant but no conclusions were drawn then. According to the opinions of many people the theft of all the documents of the investigation from the police car was bizarre (the careless policemen had left the documents in the car). Wilk, the family’s lawyer, says about several ‘miracles’ that accompanied this strange case. Fortunately, the documents had been copied and sent to Krakow. If they had not been copied all evidence would be lost forever. The family asks why the evidence found on the spot (a hair of the criminal called Kosciuk) remained in the desk for over four years and its DNA analysis had not been made when the hair pointed to its owner who was a man whom the police had known. When he was finally arrested and a phone card that the kidnappers had used was found on him the prosecutor released the offender… because his sister testified that her brother was insane. ‘To tell the truth, there are many such situations in this case’, admits Mr Wilk. ‘One can clearly see that the witnesses were terrorised and the information given by the family was not considered. The despaired family were beguiled with promises of quick recapturing of Krzysztof. And the time flew. When the round-and-tumble took place, the investigation was delayed, the information was ignored and the evidence was not checked Krzysztof Olewnik was still alive…The Olewniks appealed to the superiors of the policeman that investigated the case and they reached their higher superiors as well. They did their best. They managed to make the ministers of justice as well as general and national prosecutors get interested in the case of Krzysztof. However, after some time the right anger of the high officials was strangely weakened and finally changed into an ordinary indifference. There was a considerable progress when the case was taken over by the public prosecutor’s office in Olsztyn. By the way, it was Olewnik senior that made a few attempts to ask another prosecutor’s office to take over the investigation. In the end, in 2005, four years after the kidnapping, there were some activities undertaken. The police arrested one by one the members of the group that had kidnapped, tortured Krzysztof and killed him. The prosecutor’s office prepared the indictment act: 11 people who had caused the tragedy in various ways were to be accused. But even then there were some strange events, in the opinion of the family. Before the trial the main prisoner at the bar Wojciech Franiewski committed suicide. But few people believed that this cruel and brutal criminal was haunted by remorse. A few months after the verdict the second main criminal Kosciuch met a similar fate. The circumstances of this suicide evoke considerable doubts. More and more commentaries in the press presented another version of the reason for kidnapping and murdering Krzysztof Olewnik. The matter did not stop being sensational and numerous journalists got interested in this hot topic. The next acts of the drama were seen by the whole of Poland. The arrest of the criminals, the cruel details of the crime, the despaired faces of the family. And the motif of double bottom kept returning. On 5 May 2008 Bronislaw Wildstein wrote in Rzeczpospolita, ‘The case of the kidnapping and murder of Krzysztof Olewnik can be treated as an example of amazing incompetence of the Polish law enforcement bodies and judiciary overlapped by corruption of some of their representatives… Olewnik did not want to subordinate to the business-political post-communist connections that under the rules of Miller kept domineering the Polish economy in an increasingly ostentatious way. One of their method was to destroy the economic enterprises that were not connected with the.’ Many other commentators openly write about the revenge taken on the Olewnik family by the local political-business system to which both Olewniks, the father and the son, did not want to belong.

"Niedziela" 46/2008

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl