Elaine Elizabeth John had an over-the-phone relationship with her accused killer for about a year before she went to visit him in Sweden a month ago, a friend of the Murray woman said.
She got involved with the man, identified as Jan Lundahl, when he accidentally called Access Long Distance, where John, 27, worked as an operator, said friend and co-worker Tammy Hampton."It was all by mistake," Hampton said. "He dialed a wrong number and then got into a conversation with Elaine about a year ago. She's really friendly and easy to talk to."
Lundahl, 32, kept calling and a relationship eventually sparked, said Hampton, 24. The two would soon speak at least twice a day and sometimes talked about getting married.
"I'm sure she was in love," Hampton said. "He sent poems. He called all the time. He was pretty charming. They would stay up all night talking sometimes."
John didn't meet Lundahl in person until about a month ago when she traveled to Malmo, Sweden, to stay with the man. The couple stayed in posh hotels and went on expensive cruise during her trip.
The "fantasy romance" ended last week when police in Malmo, Sweden found John strangled to death in a room at the Master Johan hotel Wednesday.
The man later turned himself into police and was arraigned in a Swedish court Saturday. The court didn't reveal a motive but did confirm John was strangled, according to the Swedish news agency TT.
In accordance with Swedish law, the arraignment was closed to the media. The man has a criminal record for theft and fraud, police said. He doesn't have a history of violent crime. If found guilty, he could spend life in prison.
Hampton, who was friends with John for four years, was suspicious of Lundahl. He lied to John and the two would get into arguments sometimes, she said.
"He said he would send money for the phone bills and never did. He said he would come to Utah and visit her and never did. He said he would send a big package for Christmas and never did," Hampton said.
The man also lied about his job. He told John he was a truck driver. Authorities told Hampton that he was a telephone operator.
Lundahl was a transient and would move from place to place, Hampton said. That's why the couple stayed in hotel rooms.
John called Hampton about a week after she arrived in Sweden and said everything was going fine between the two. Hampton didn't have any idea what could cause Lundahl to kill her, as he is accused of doing.