Did new DNA research just identify Jack the Ripper?
Mar 19, 2019
Researchers say new DNA evidence may unmask Jack the Ripper, the infamous murderer who went on a killing spree through Victorian London.
- The new research, which was published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, reviewed the only remaining physical evidence linked to the murders that was recovered at the scene of one of the deaths.
- The researchers analyzed a shawl covered in blood from Catherine Eddowes, who was reportedly one of Ripper’s victims. She was killed on Sept. 30, 1888.
- The scientists reportedly used genetic testing and linked the killing to Aaron Kosminski, who was a 23-year-old barber living in London at the time, according to Science magazine.
Context: Kosminski has long been considered a suspect in the case, according to Fox News, but authorities have lacked significant evidence to tie the two together.
- “We applied novel, minimally destructive techniques for sample recovery from forensically relevant stains on the evidence and separated single cells linked to the suspect, followed by phenotypic analysis,” say the scientists, in the Journal of Forensic Sciences. “The mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) profiles of both the victim and the suspect matched the corresponding reference samples, fortifying the link of the evidence to the crime scene.”
- A witness previously pointed to Kosminski as the killer. However, the witness never testified against Kosminski. The research, though, could now back up the witness’ charge.
- “Genomic DNA from single cells recovered from the evidence was amplified, and the phenotypic information acquired matched the only witness statement regarded as reliable,” said Jari Louhelainen and David Miller, in the abstract. “To our knowledge, this is the most advanced study to date regarding this case.”
However: According to Science magazine, the new findings may not appease critics and skeptics. The genetic variants of the DNA are not mentioned in the paper due to privacy laws in the U.K., according to Science magazine.
- Other critics say the shawl from the study could have been contaminated throughout the years.