The identity of Jack the Ripper is just as elusive today as it was in Whitechapel, England 130 years ago. His crimes haunted the district as one prostitute after another was discovered deceased among the destitute streets of the small town.
The bodies of these five prostitutes were not just murdered, but guttered, usually with the organs removed. Despite the limited knowledge and lack of technology of the time only minimal conclusions were made. Police had their suspicions of the perpetrator, but nothing could have ever been proven with such little evidence.
However, with modern science the debate may finally be put to a rest. A silk shawl left near the body of the Ripper’s fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes, has been the only piece of physical evidence to ever be associated with the murders. The shawl contains semen evidence matching barber Aaron Kosminski.
There have been many who have been suspected of the crimes over the years, and Kosminski was noted as one of them. However, further questioning of the man ceased when he disappeared right after the last murder of Mary Kelly.
The DNA obtained from the silk shawl was compared to the currently living relatives of Eddowes and Kosminski through mitochondrial DNA; DNA passed down from one’s mother.
Kosminksi’s physical characteristics also matched an eyewitness’s account of one of the murders. While eyewitness testimony is often unreliable, it is difficult to argue with science. Currently the semen has been the only collected and tested evidence in the Ripper case, and this may finally put an end to one of mystery’s biggest questions; who was Jack the Ripper?