What Happened to Linda Chen?

With her wedding only a week away, Linda Chen disappeared. At first, it could be the case of a bride with the jitters, but then how come nothing the fiance said made any sense?

You’re going to hear about the Chinese Mafia, Odd ways Linda might have died, and made-up stories from a fiance that have all been proven to be lies. At the end of this story, you decide what happened to Linda Chen for yourself.

Mats Alm and Linda Chen, photo recovered by the police in Mats Alm’s apartment.

Sweden Missing Person Stats

While researching the Linda Chen case, I found a few places that mentioned the stats for missing person claims in Sweden.

  • 26,000 missing person cases are logged each year in Sweden.
  • 97% of those reported missing are found.
  • Of the 97% found, 2,700 are found deceased.
  • Only 3% of missing person cases are never located.

The Life of Linda Chen

She was born in 1977 in China. When she was 15, her family sent her and a younger brother to Sweden, where they lived in a refugee camp. While there, she met a Swedish woman named Aino Johansson, who became Linda’s second mother her Swedish Mother.

After coming of age, Linda attended nursing school, graduating.

Linda’s first marriage would give her a son. Things were termetulous. The relationship ended when the father of her son tried to kill her. He was arrested and charged with attempted murder.

She would fall in love again, marrying twice more.

The next set of vowels she would take would net Linda $35,000. Her husband agreed to pay her the sum for a green card marriage. He was not a Sweeden national. She divorced him soon after the wedding.

Linda’s third marriage was to a chef in Falun, Sweden. While married to him, she left her nursing job and worked part-time as a waitress at the China Thai restaurant. She divorced him a few years later.

By 2008 Linda was single again and lonely. She went online to a dating website and found Mats Alm; both lived in Falun, Sweden. On their first date, they talked about marriage. Within a few weeks, Mats Alm had moved in with Linda.

Linda had said she was old-fashioned and thought if they were going to live together, they needed to be at least planning a wedding. So two months after their first date, Linda and Mats got engaged. Mats says he proposed to Linda on May 5, 2008, but Linda’s friends say that Linda asked Mats.

On May 12, only a week after getting engaged, they bought life insurance policies on each other. Each policy had a payout of roughly $125,000 US dollars.

Mats Alm and Linda Chen | Posted to Social Media by Alm and Chen, recovered by police during search of Mats Alm’s apartment.

Mats Alm’s Journey to Falun and Linda

Born in 1975, Mats had a pretty typical upbringing in Sweden. After high school, he enlisted in the Army. He put in a transfer to finish his service as a firefighter.

Mats eventually finished his service and took a job at a convenience store in Peru. There he met a woman, and they got engaged. Needing money for a wedding, Mats started embezzling from his work. The couple got married, but Mats was fired and arrested for the $10,000 he stole soon after. The couple filed for divorce, and Mats returned to Sweden.

After maxing out his credit cards and taking numerous personal loans, Mats was deeply in debt. He then enrolled in school, studying to be a teacher. He didn’t have a job, so he took out additional student loans to pay his bills. Here is when he met Linda.

Fractures in the Relationship

Linda paid off most of Mats’s outstanding credit cards and loans, and during the summer, when he was out of school, she gave him money to live on while he waited for his student loans to start again in the fall.

In June of 2009, Linda and Mats traveled to China to visit with Linda’s family. The trip cost over $10,000 for the month-long stay, and Linda covered it all.

She had also paid the nearly $6,000 down towards the wedding that was to happen on August 8, 2009, when they got back from China. They arrived back in Falun 10 days before Linda would drop off the face of the earth.

Eight days later, Mats and Linda drove around the area looking for tourist attractions they could take visiting family to see after the wedding. They took lots of photos. These would be discovered later by the police. The day trip was two days before Linda goes missing.

Linda’s Disappearance

The last day that anyone saw Linda alive was August 1, one week before her wedding.

4 PM — Finished her 11–4 shift at China Thai.

4:10 PM — Arrives home from work.

4:38 PM — Seen leaving the grocery store with Mats on security footage.

Linda Chen and Mats Alm security footage leaving grocery store | Shared by Police during missing persons investigation.

Linda is wearing a short white dress, with white leggings underneath, and high heel sandals.

That was the last sighting of Linda Chen. As she and Mats walked out of the grocery store, she held his arm and smiled. Everything else we’re told about that day and the months to come is from Mats Alm.

Mats will make an official missing persons case the next day, where he outlines what he and Linda did after leaving the grocery store.

Night Linda Went Missing:

  • Drove home and dropped off groceries.
  • Next, Mats and Linda drove around to visit tourist attractions that they were planning to take the wedding guest to see the following week.
  • Mats says they drove first to Torsangs cafe to view a steamboat.
  • There is a credit card charge for this, but it’s from July 30.
  • They also stopped by the location of their reception in Stangstransstugan. Mats says it was quiet, and the two of them just walked around.
  • That day, a large party was happening at the reception location, and no one saw Mats or Linda.
  • 8 PM, they arrive back home, and Linda heated some food she had brought from work. They ate.
  • 8:20 PM, someone logs onto Mats computer.
  • Linda then washed her hair, re-did her makeup, and left to meet a friend at 9 PM.
  • Although, she left her shoes in the apartment.
  • Her friends and family thought it was odd that she didn’t change her clothes after washing her hair and doing her makeup; that would have been very unlike Linda not to change.

We know that no one saw Linda that night out on the streets or in any bar or restaurant. Many people knew Linda because of her job at the China Thai restaurant, and she stuck out being so short, 4'10", and of Asian descent.

1:09 AM — Mats text Linda, then he calls but gets no response from her. He continues this randomly until 8:13 AM.

9:01 AM — Mats first calls the police but is told to call back later since they believe Linda is probably just asleep at a friend’s house.

10:44 AM — Again, Mats calls the police, but they again tell him to check with her friends.

1:03 PM — Mats finally calls Linda’s friend that she was supposedly meeting with the night before, Tony Chen. Tony tells Mats that he and Linda did not have plans the night before and hadn’t seen her.

1:30 to 4 PM — Mats calls Linda’s cell phone eight more times with no answer.

4:02 PM — Mats calls the police and tells them the whole story about how she never showed up for her meeting with a friend. They now start an investigation.

Sunday — Linda doesn’t show up for work. Her co-workers know that something is wrong.

The news of Linda missing makes it to the newspapers and is picked up by local TV stations, which is how most of Linda’s friends find out that she’s missing because Mats never called them.

Even Linda’s Swedish mom Aino Johansson had to read about Linda’s disappearance in the Newspaper. One would have thought Mats would have called her to see if she heard from Linda before reporting her missing?

When Aino Johansson called Mats, he answered the phone, sounding very cheery, she remembers. He said, “I’m so happy you called.” She would testify later that it unnerved her how he was acting.

Interrogations

August 6 — The police call in Tony Chen. They have been told that Linda had gone to meet him the night she disappeared.

Chen explains to the police that he never had plans with Linda and had told all of this to Mats. He also adds that he had never met Linda by herself. He said that he only socializes with her at the China Thai restaurant when he’s there with other friends.

August 7 — Linda’s ex-husband, the father of her son, is brought in for questioning. But he has an airtight alibi for the night Linda went missing.

August 7 — Linda’s family starts arriving for the wedding. Mats meets with them and shows them around town. He even shows them all the photos he and Linda took in China. Mats seemed happy and never mentioned that Linda was missing. They would find out from the news.

Wedding Date August 8, 2008

Linda’s friends and family gather at the church where the wedding had been planned to pray and light candles. Not knowing if Linda was dead or missing in need of help, everyone seemed saddened and concerned, except the fiance.

Mats family had come, but he sat with Aino Johansson instead. When the minister lit a candle for Linda, Mats leaned over to Aino and whispered, “How does the minister know Linda is dead?”

After the church service, Mats went out with his friends to a local bar. He was seen laughing and getting drunk by numerous people.

The Police Investigation

During the investigation, the police questioned over 50 people who had connections to Linda. No one seemed to know anything. They went door to door asking about the night Linda went missing. No one had seen her. When they canvassed the local restaurants and bars in town, again, they found no one who had seen her that night.

And, of course, they questioned Mats numerous times.

The first time Mats was called in to speak with Police. They made a note of his strange behavior. While talking about what had happened that night, Mats continued to stop and scream out as if he was in pain, but there were no tears.

Another thing they noticed was a reddish mark on Mats neck the day after Linda went missing. He couldn’t explain what had happened to make it appear that he was in a struggle of some sort.

Odd Things Found During Investigation

  • When police made some inquiries into the wedding plans, they found out that no food had been ordered. Even though it’s the location Mats said was handling the catering.
  • They could not find any place that had prepared any flowers for the ceremony either.

The Police started to wonder if one or both of them had already decided not to get married? They had to look into scenarios that could have played out. Was it bad planning, not enough money to cover the bills, or was one of them just not committed? And did any of this play into Linda’s disappearance?

The Missing Persons Case Looks Bleak

August 17 — Mats starts work as a substitute teacher. Everyone at the school would later say he seemed happy and cheerful. They had no idea that his fiance was missing.

August 21 — Aino Johansson received a call from Mats, and the conversation turns to Mats asking how long until a missing person would be declared dead. She tells him it could take up to 10 years. Mats says he can’t wait that long.

September 2, 2008 — Wanted TV Show Appearance

Mats goes on the TV show Wanted to talk about Linda’s disappearance. It’s officially one month since Linda was last seen, and Mats has several ideas about what might have happened to her. They all revolve around someone killing her, including the Chinese Mafia and sex traffickers.

While on camera, he also talks about crying a lot, even though he doesn’t actually cry. “It is strange how many tears a person can produce.” He says that he spent days on end crying, even though he only drank “one glass of water.” He then finishes by saying he finds crying meaningless because it doesn’t help.

The Wanted always has a psychologist evaluate the victims and suspects as part of the show. In this segment, the Doctor determined that the most likely culprit was the fiance, Mats Alm.

Later, when police searched Mats apartment, they would find the Doctor’s transcript from the show printed out and Mats’s comments written on it.

No one calls the show with any useful information.

Mats Alm holding a photo of Linda Chen | Via ashanti5246 on Wordpress

Another Interview

On Tuesday, September 15, police called Mats and told him he needed to come in the following day to answer some additional questions.

After that phone call, colleagues of Mats at the school remembered he was visibly upset and seemed anxious.

Mats Alm never showed at the police station.

The police went to Mats apartment and found no one home. At this point, they had to treat it as he was missing, either by his own accord or that someone had taken him. An APB is issued, and the news channels pick up the story, but no one has seen him.

Emergency Call

On September 18, emergency services receive a strange call. A man claims he had been abducted, held hostage in a car trunk, and was set on fire.

Lars Gauffin had been outside his cabin in the woods when he saw a man running towards him. The man was not wearing any shirt or shoes, which was the first indication that something was wrong.

As Mats Alm approached Gauffin and his cabin, he started to tell the craziest of stories.

Mats says that he was taken from his apartment on September 15 by two Chinese men. He claims the men kept asking him where Linda’s money was, but Mats told them he had no idea about any money.

After Guaffin got off the phone with emergency services, he got Mats some water to drink. But Mats takes the glass and dumps it on himself. Guaffin noticed a few marks on Mats’s body. Gauffin then gets him a blanket, and they sit and wait for emergency services.

Mats Timeline of Events Vs. Evidence Police Discover

September 15 at 5 PM — Mats left the school and stopped for a pizza to take home. He spent the night alone watching TV.

8:30 PM — He heard a knock at the door and, through the peephole, thought it was Tony Chen. Mats opened the door to find two Chinese men, neither Tony.

One of the men had a knife and forced his way inside. The other man gave Mats two pills and ordered him to swallow them, saying they would take him to see Linda. Mats claimed after taking the pills; he passed out on the couch.

September 16 at 7 PM — Mats woke up in a trunk. He said he started banging on the trunk lid until the two Chinese Men opened it. Where they demand to know where Linda’s money is. Mats said he told the men that he had no idea about any money Linda had. Again, they give him two more pills, which he takes, and they close him up in the trunk.

EVIDENCE | 7 PM Stockholm — Mats phone is being used to take a selfie. Which Mats will later claim was not him.

September 17 at 9:30 AM — Mats again wakes up in the trunk and starts screaming. The two Chinese men again open the trunk for him. He tells them he has to urinate and that he’s hungry. They give him a cup to urinate in and then hand him a take-out container of old friend shrimp and beef chop suey.

Mats says they asked again about Linda’s money, and he told them he had no idea. After he eats, they give him two more pills, and he passes out again.

EVIDENCE | Thursday Morning — Mats laptop is connected to the wifi at the Stockholm library. The history would show that whoever used the computer searched for Mats ex-wife, a former student of Mats, and a friend from his old high school.

2:00 PM — Mats wakes up and yells he needs out to use the bathroom. The Chinese men let him out, and Mats says he defecated in the woods next to the car after he was ushered back into the trunk and given more pills.

EVIDENCE | Thursday Afternoon — Mats laptop connects to wifi on a bus in Stockholm. The bus driver and several passengers later testify that the man using the computer was Mats Alm.

August 18 at 12:30 PM — Mats woke up again and yelled for water. The Chinese men are still standing next to the car and gave him a bottle of water and more pills.

EVIDENCE |In Tallberg, around noon that same day, witnesses see a man who looks just like Mats Alm. They had seen his picture in the newspapers via the APB and called the police to report the sightings.

4:30 PM — Mats wakes up lying on the ground in the woods. He is on fire. Quickly he rips off his shirt, then puts out the flames on his pants. Standing up now, he sees Linda’s body lying under some branches in her white dress. Mats said he knew he needed to get help, so he started running.

He ran until he hit the road Riksvag 80, about 20 miles north of Falun, he tried to flag down a motorist, but no one stopped. He then ran to a cabin and yelled at the owner, who was outside. He shouted he was Mats Alm and that he found Linda Chen.

Once emergency service arrives, Mats told them where they could find Linda’s body in great detail. Police located it later that day.

In the hospital, Mats was treated for minor burn marks. But his toxicology report came back with no medication in his system. Further, Dr’s testify that if Mats had been cramped into the trunk of a car for that long, his body would have shown signs of the trauma.

Things Don’t Add Up

Mats father called the police, telling them that he just found some strange items at his house that they should see.

The police are shown Mats laptop and camera, along with a handwritten letter by Mats. The computer gave them the evidence they needed to prove Mats performed multiple searches online for a way to get out of Sweden without any money. It also provided them a timeline of his activities in Stockholm when he claimed he was being held against his will.

The phone also has the incriminating selfie on it. Police believe Mats left the items at his parent’s house on September 18 while supposedly being held in the trunk.

The Letter:

Hi Mom and Dad. If you read this letter, it means something has happened to me.

I guess that the people I am trying to track down, the people responsible for Linda’s disappearance, have gotten rid of me.

I think I’m getting closer to the truth. That’s why I’m hiding some important items here. If not, I’m going to pick them up later myself and the laptop I’m going to be able to use every week when I visit.

I love you both will all of my heart, Mats.

The police showed Mats the selfies from his phone and asked how he could have been in two places at once? Mats says that the man in the photo does look like him, but it’s not him. Mats says he believes the Chinese Mafia hired a look-alike to impersonate him so that they could frame Mats for the murder of Linda.

***So to clarify, Mats says the Chinese Mafia wanted to frame him for Linda’s murder. But then why would they murder him next to her in the woods?

When the police ask Mats about the letter, he claims he didn’t write it. Mats parents said it was their son’s handwriting, and the handwriting analysis determined it was Mats handwriting.

Pathologist Report on Linda

The pathologist could not give an exact date to when Linda died since her body had been left out in the elements for so long and then sat on fire. It was determined she died sometime between August 1 and 9.

Also, due to the condition of her body, no official cause of death could be determined.

Sentencing

Without an official ruling of murder, Mats Alm was only convicted for desecrating a corpse. They had proved he was the one to set her body on fire the day it was discovered. Mats Alm was given a sentence of 1.5 years in prison, but since he had been held in custody awaiting trial, he was released after sentencing.

After being released, Mats did get Linda’s life insurance money. But his lawyer was able to talk him into giving it to Linda’s son. That’s the only good thing to come from this horrible murder.

About Me, Lisa Marie Fuqua: I’m a Crime and Corruption Writer for the Publication True Crime Addiction. I’m a Crohn’s Disease Ninja, a Sphynx Cat Rescue Mom, and reluctant desert dweller in Las Vegas. Also, I’m a proud Trophy Wife, it’s true I have a bowling trophy to prove it.

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Lisa Marie Fuqua

Lisa Marie Fuqua

True Crime Writer in Las Vegas. I used to be a Web Developer in the Newsroom, now I spend my time in coffee shops researching murder.