Researchers say they have finally unmasked Jack the Ripper, the infamous serial killer who terrorized London in the late 1800s.
A forensic investigation published in Journal of Forensic Sciences has identified the killer as Aaron Kosminski, a 23-year-old Polish barber and prime suspect at the time.
Kosminski was previously named as a suspect over 100 years ago and once again in a 2014 book by British businessman and Ripper researcher Russell Edwards. But the latest finding marks the first time that Edwards’ DNA evidence has been published in a peer-reviewed journal, according to the magazine Science.
“To our knowledge, this is the most advanced study to date regarding this case,” the study authors wrote.
Jack the Ripper is believed to have killed at least five women in the Whitechapel district of London between August and November of 1888. Researchers Jari Louhelainen and David Miller ran genetic tests on a silk shawl stained with blood and semen that investigators say was found next to the body of the killer’s fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes, Science reported.
Researchers compared fragments of mitochondrial DNA — which the magazine noted is inherited from one’s mother — to samples from living relatives of Eddowes and Kosminski and found they matched those of Kosminski’s relative.
The study also includes an analysis of the killer’s appearance which suggests the killer had brown hair and brown eyes. which matches the only reliable witness statement, according to Science.
The study’s findings may not satisfy other Ripper experts who say the shawl may have been contaminated over the years. The shawl was given to Louhelainen by Edwards, a self-proclaimed “armchair detective” and author of “Naming Jack the Ripper,” who bought it at an auction in 2007, according to the Guardian.
“I’ve got the only piece of forensic evidence in the whole history of the case,” he told the newspaper in 2014. “I’ve spent 14 years working on it, and we have definitively solved the mystery of who Jack the Ripper was.”