An amateur detective claims to have solved a century-long mystery with DNA evidence taken from a scarf found at a “Jack the Ripper” murder scene, NBC News reports.
Russell Edwards has a book out on Tuesday that details his findings, appropriately called “Naming Jack The Ripper.” The man Edwards identifies — 23-year-old Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminski — is one of six primary suspects commonly named as Jack the Ripper, according to The Guardian.
The murderer known as Jack the Ripper allegedly killed five prostitutes in London’s Whitechapel neighbourhood in 1888. The murder mystery has never conclusively been solved.
Edwards claims DNA on the scarf found at a Jack the Ripper murder scene matches Kominski. He bought the shawl at an auction in 2007 and had a molecular biologist analyse the DNA on it.
Here’s a shot of it, via the Daily Mail:
To prove Kosminski’s DNA matched that on the scarf, Edwards tracked down living relatives of Kosminski and the victim, according to The Independent. Both DNA sequences reportedly matched samples found on the scarf.
All this has to be taken with several grains of salt.
First, as a source who spoke to The Guardian points out, the scarf has been handled by many people over the years and has not been kept under seal to avoid contamination.
It’s also hard to verify the scientist’s claims about the DNA because his work has not been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, as The Independent notes.
Police never had enough evidence to bring charges against Kominski, but he was widely regarded as the most likely suspect.
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