medicine Luisa Florez Medical Examiner

Forensic Science May Have Uncovered Jack the Ripper

Luisa Florez’s latest blog post.

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Jack the Ripper remains, to this day, one of the most perplexing cold cases. Many conspiracy theorists have dedicated hours, months and years towards attempting to solve this century old case. Many theories have emerged over the years, and many have often thought they had definitively figured out who exactly Jack the Ripper may have been. However, a new theory always emerges, questioning the validity of the previous establishment.

According to an article recently completed by Kinja Gizmodo, a partnership between a businessman and a forensic science has afforded yet another possible answer for who could have been Jack the Ripper. With the increase in the ability of science, it is not surprising that a forensic scientist could possibly be the one to definitively answer the question of the man behind the misnomer of Jack the Ripper.

However, the discovery would not have been possible without Russell Edwards, the businessman component of the duo. He acquired a shawl that was said to be owned by Catherine Eddowes, one of the unfortunate victims of Jack the Ripper’s crimes. In 2011, Edwards sought out Jari Louhelainen, an expert in the field of forensic analysis. From there, Louhelainen had to sequence the DNA he could find on the shawl. In the process, he was able to map the DNA by determining the exact order of the bases in the strand provided by the material. Using the polymerase chain reaction technique, Louhelainen was allowed to make millions of exact copies of the DNA—more than enough to complete the necessary sequencing needed to identify his Jack the Ripper suspect. The genome amplification technique allowed Louhelainen to discover several key aspects of his suspect’s ethnic and geographic origins, including the color of his hair. The results indicated that the suspect needed to be of Russian Jewish ethnicity with dark hair.

These facts were used to narrow down lists of previous suspects. From there, Edwards and Louhelainen were able to track down the most feasible option, take a swab of DNA and compare it to the evidence Jack the Ripper left behind on the shawl. Edwards and Louhelainen found a match in Aaron Kosminski. At the time, he was a twenty-three year old polish barber who lived in close proximity of all the murders. Louhelainen believes these findings are reliable, beyond a shade of reasonable doubt. However, the article notes the timing of the release, which corresponds with Louhelainen’s release of a book on catching Jack the Ripper, and suspects it may just be an exaggerated PR stunt.

from Luisa Florez Medical Examiner http://ift.tt/1tQpnUy