The following story would have been scarcely believable less than a decade ago
It’s almost certain that very few people outside the country in which it occurred would have even heard about it.
It exists nonetheless.
It concerns the plight of a little girl, then just three years old, who was allegedly abused by a Paedophile ring, who held prominent positions within the Lithuanian government and the police.
The girl’s father tried fighting for justice the supposedly correct and legal way – by going to the police, contacting child services, appealing to state prosecutors etc, but to his frustration, the Lithuanian authorities continually ignored and rejected his accusations.
He was left with little choice but to go the media, and the story he told captured the entire countries imagination, stirring up resentment and open anger toward the country’s elites within the establishment.
The story began in 2007 when Drasius Kedys discovered that his daughter, (referred to by the initial D only) had been sexually abused by at least three persons, on an indeterminate number of occasions during the time she was in the care of her mother, Laimuté Stankunaite.
Kedys started proceedings against Stankunaite in an attempt to gain full legal custody of his daughter.
He also filmed and recorded his daughter as she explained to him in detail how the alleged abuse occurred.
He sent this recording to every major media outlet, and to make doubly sure, also uploaded it to the Internet, where it still exists I believe.
Her testimony led him to three names: Judge Jonas Furmanavicius, Politician Andrius Usas and a mysterious third person known only as ‘Aidis’.
Kedys then attempted to press charges against Furmanavicius and Usas, but his claims were rejected at every level.
He maintained that he would fight for justice for his daughter by all possible and legal means – beginning with making his evidence available to the public.
That was the only way he believed he could at least stop the abusers.
On October 5th, 2009, the story took a sinister turn when Judge Furmanavicius and Violeta Naruševiciene, the sister of his former girlfriend Laimute, were found murdered.
Drasius Kedys also disappeared that same morning, triggering a major Europe-wide manhunt.
His gun was found beside Violeta Naruševiciene’s body, although it had not been fired.
(Forensic experts later confirmed that Furmanavicius and Naruševiciene were shot with a different gun).
Nevertheless, Kedys was named as the main suspect by the authorities as being solely responsible.
The story took another twist on April 17th 2010, when Kedys’ own body was discovered near a lake in his hometown of Kaunas.
Yet another gun was found beside him, which experts promptly declared was indeed, the murder weapon.
Strangely, the police did not initially contact Kedys’ relatives, claiming they “did not recognise that the body found was of Drasius Kedys”.
Instead they invited Laimuté Stankunaite to identify the body, which was so badly decomposed, it was only recognisable from dental records.
The Lithuanian authorities did conduct their own ‘official’ examination, during which, ‘no independent experts were allowed to witness the proceedings.’
Their explanation of his death, was that he had somehow ‘choked on his own vomit, after drinking heavily on his own in the woods.’
What they could not explain so easily however, was that his body was discovered in an unusual ‘Angel Pose’, with both hands crossed on his chest while the body was discovered laying face down.
His shoes were also remarkably clean despite the fact that the place where the body was found was described as being ‘a swamp.’
But the authorities duly rejected that evidence, including the findings of private and independent experts who later confirmed that ‘considerable violence’ played a part in his death.
5000 people attended his funeral on the 24th April, showing their support for a man and a father, who they see as having paid the ultimate price in his fight against highly-placed and powerful Paedophiles.
Since then, their focus has turned towards the welfare of Kedys’ young daughter, who was placed in the custody of her mother Stankunaite following her father’s death, despite an open case against Usas, who was known to have direct connections with her.
The judge who made that decision apparently paid no attention to this fact, nor the accusations that Stankunaite had generated a generous income by selling her daughter to Paedophiles.
People from all over Lithuania have even taken to gathering around the Kedys family home, where the girl is under the care of Kedys’ sister Neringa Venckiene, in order to try and prevent her return to Stankunaite.
They remain unconvinced that she will not be persuaded to withdraw her statements and that justice will not be served.
The Lithuanian nation has been confused, frightened, and by all accounts, highly disgusted by this whole series of events and subsequent establishment cover-ups.
Many Lithuanians now feel that the only way to fight for their children’s safety, is to fight with their bare hands and risk their own lives in the process.
The Path of Courage, a political party founded by Kedys’ sister and supporters, participated in the Lithuanian parliamentary election in 2012 and received almost 8% of the vote.
Their protests are not just for Kedys’ little girl, but against all corruption in the Lithuanian establishment.
We hear the word ‘Hero’ bandied around more often than at any other time lately, an honour bestowed on those who scarcely earn the title.
Drasius Kedys, however, is deservedly seen as such in Lithuania, and on a national level, as one who fought and died fighting against what he knew to be an grave injustice.
So much more than can be said for those who run the country, according to many, many ordinary, decent and angry Lithuanians.
NOTE: The main suspect in the case, Andrius Ūsas, was found drowned in a lake after a motorcycle accident in June 2010. A posthumous trial found him innocent.