Unmasking Jack The Ripper’s Real Identity

Forensic Science may have prove the real identity of the 1888 Jack the RipperPhoto By: Brian Holland/Flickr

Who would have forgotten the stories of the notorious serial killer who established fear and terror on women during the late 1800s in England? Decades have passed, and still, the real identity and personality of this man are still unknown. Although news of his mysteries and plight was uncovered on previous investigations, and some authorities have pointed their fingers on the ‘alleged’ suspects, Forensic studies are still not convinced that they were the real ‘Jack the Ripper.’

However, not until today.

The identity of the notorious killer, ‘Jack the Ripper,’ may finally be known. This probe questions to the public, ‘how after centuries could someone be able to find clues to the real person?’

Forensic science provides us the answer. This month, a DNA forensic investigation was administered by two British researchers who published their work in the Journal of Forensic Science. Both made the discovery who identified, Aaron Kosminski, a 23-year old Polish Barber and also the main suspect at that time, is likely the perpetrator.

The said study is authored by Jari Louhelainen of Liverpool John Moores University and David Miller of the University of Leeds.

Way back 1888, the famous killer, ‘Jack the Ripper,’ brutally killed five female prostitutes who lived and worked in the slums of the East End of London, whose throats were deeply cut and mutilated their abdominal parts. The removal of internal organs from most of his victims led to speculation that the killer is somehow inclined to the anatomical or surgical field, but it was only a mere allegation because the murderer has never been identified.

Rumors intensified in October 1888, as media received letters from a person who named himself as ‘Jack the Ripper.’ The letter is widely believed to be a hoax, and the public increasingly believed in a single serial killer mainly because of the extraordinary brutal nature of the murders and media’s sensationalized news covers.

Today, as the Forensic Sciences put life to the case, it also gave the media another story to tell.

The investigation explained that the ‘semen stains’ match those with the analysis done by the police on the main suspect, Aaron Kominski. The procedures which the authors conducted include genetic testing of blood and semen on a shawl found near the body of Catherine Eddowes, the killer’s fourth victim, who badly mutilated her body and was only discovered on September 30, 1888, days after she was gone missing.

USA Today revealed how researchers had instigated the samples. They compared fragments of mitochondrial DNA inherited from one’s mother to that of living relatives of Eddowes and Kosminski. The result is a massive development to finally resolve the case: the DNA samples matched those of Kosminki’s relative.

The researchers said that they have been analyzing the silk shawl for the past eight years and the only physical evidence linked to the victim and the suspect.

The study also includes an analysis of the killer’s appearance which suggested that the murderer had features of brown hair and eyes. This data reflects the only reliable eyewitness statement from the murder, which law enforcement had considered accurate.

Kosminski was the only suspect who had been tried and investigated several times. But his guilt has been a matter of debate in the past decades until now, and no one has ascertained his crimes. His name resurfaced in 2014 in a book authored by British businessman and a self-proclaimed ‘armchair detective,’ as well as, ‘Ripper researcher,’ Russell Edwards.

But, the latest finding marks the first time that Edward’s DNA evidence has been included in a Science investigation. And, the research conducted by Jari and David is the most advanced case study to date regarding with the murder and represent the first ‘systematic’ molecular level analysis of the only surviving physical evidence associated with the Jack the Ripper murders.

The recent findings, however, may not satisfy other Ripper experts who continue to claim that the shawl may have been contaminated over the years. The shawl came from Edwards who bought it in an auction in 2007 then gave it to Louhelainen for research purposes.

Jack the Ripper features in hundreds of works of fiction including movies, TV shows, and inspired many mystery-inclined books, games, songs, plays, and operas. The case straddles the boundaries between fact and fiction including the Ripper letters and a hoax Diary of Jack the Ripper. Today, finding such as this will be a great help to the case of Jack the Ripper even if it means swimming through the oceans of critics and some Ripper experts.

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