On Tuesday night, a Norwegian fisherman found the personal belongings of Arjen Kamphuis, WikiLeaks founder Assange's associate, who went missing three weeks ago. They were found in the sea between the towns of Fauske and Rognan in Nordland county, the local newspaper VG reported on Wednesday.
Officials didn't reveal what belongings had been found for the sake of the ongoing investigation. But police suggested that Kamphuis, who was last seen in the northern city of Bodo on August 20, took a local train to Rognan that day, departing at 16:05 and arriving at 17:29.
While police plan to continue to investigate the area, they failed to detail the extent to which the find helped establish Kamphuis's whereabouts. The search will continue on land and at sea.
Arjen Kamphuis's disappearance came to light after a woman, who claimed to be his best friend, tweeted about it on August 31. According to her, Kamphuis checked out of a hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodo on August 20 and hasn't been heard from since. He was to fly to Amsterdam from Trondheim, a city located over 700 kilometers south of Bodo.
After the woman sounded the alarm, Norwegian police launched an investigation. A police spokesman refused to speculate as to what may have happened to the missing Dutchman. He was known to his friends as an avid hiker, which sparked speculations that he had gone on a trip outdoors.
Arjen Kamphuis, 47, is a cybersecurity expert who has authored "Information Security for Journalists," a handbook that contains tips for journalists on how to keep their work safe from spying. His mysterious disappearance has fueled conspiracy theories online, leading some people to suggest that it had something to do with his ties to WikiLeaks.
Julian Assange, the Australian-born journalist who founded WikiLeaks, has spent six years in self-imposed exile in Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault and rape, which he dismissed as politically motivated. He faced the claims shortly after his project had disclosed massive amounts of classified and sensitive documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These information dumps have provoked a Washington investigation into WikiLeaks and Assange personally, with the US seeking to prosecute the journalist under the Espionage Act.
Ecuadorian authorities are currently in talks with Assange's lawyers to work out a deal that would ensure his security. This comes after Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno insisted, in July, that Assange should leave the embassy.