Forensic scientists say they have finally fingered the identity of Jack the Ripper, the notorious serial killer who terrorized the streets of London more than a century ago. Genetic tests published this week point to Aaron Kosminski, a 23-year-old Polish barber and a prime police suspect at the time. But critics say the evidence isn’t strong enough to declare this case closed.
The results come from a forensic examination of a stained silk shawl that investigators said was found next to the mutilated body of Catherine Eddowes, the killer’s fourth victim, in 1888. The shawl is speckled with what is claimed to be blood and semen, the latter believed to be from the killer.
The tests compared fragments of mitochondrial DNA—the portion of DNA inherited only from one’s mother—retrieved from the shawl with samples taken from living descendants of Eddowes and Kosminski. The DNA matches that of a living relative of Kosminki, they conclude in the Journal of Forensic Sciences.
The analysis also suggests the killer had brown hair and brown eyes, which agrees with the evidence from an eyewitness.
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