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JACK THE RIPPER SHAWL - MICHAEL HAWLEY

After 130 years, do we finally know the identity of Jack the Ripper? Unfortunately, no. After releasing test results of a controversial silk shawl stained with blood and, possibly, semen, supposedly found at the scene of one of the Ripper killings, forensic scientists are pointing the finger at Aaron Kosminski, a 23-year-old Polish barber in London who was one of the first suspects identified by London police in the Ripper case. But like all elements in the Jack the Ripper saga, the evidence they’re offering is not able to close the book on the string of murders that terrorized the London streets of 1888.

The case for the barber’s unmasking is tied to the shawl alleged to have been found next to Catherine Eddowes, the Ripper’s fourth victim. As David Adam at Science reports, the cloth was acquired by Ripper enthusiast Russell Edwards in 2007, who had it DNA tested. While Edwards published the results in his 2014 book, Naming Jack the Ripper, he kept the DNA results and methods under wraps, making it impossible to assess or verify the claims of Kosminski as Ripper. Now, the biochemists who ran those tests, Jari Louhelainen of John Moores University in Liverpool and David Miller of the University of Leeds, have published the data in the Journal of Forensic Sciences.


Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/jack-rippers-dna-collected-shawl-though-doubts-linger-180971726/#lOSCbt1xrCrGpr6z.99

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3/27/2020

LIFE AND CRIMES OF BTK - STEPHEN & JOYCE SINGULAR

To all appearances, Dennis Rader was a model citizen in the small town of Park City, Kansas, where he had lived with his family almost his entire life. He was a town compliance officer, a former Boy Scout leader, the president of his church congregation, and a seemingly ordinary father and husband. But Rader's average life belied the existence of his dark, sadistic other self: he was the BTK serial killer. The self-named BTK (for Bind, Torture, Kill) had terrorized Wichita for thirty-one years, not only with his brutal, sexually motivated crimes, but also through his taunting, elusive communications with the media and law enforcement. In 1974, BTK committed his first murders -- torturing and strangling four members of the Otero family -- and wrote the police an audacious letter declaring his responsibility for the Oteros' deaths and labeling himself, for the first time, BTK. Thus he established a pattern -- stalking and killing a series of ten victims, then bragging and claiming ownership of his crimes -- that ended in 1991 but left law enforcement confounded and the public with deeply troubling memories. Until, that is, he resurfaced in 2004 with another string of letters that would finally lead to his arrest. Drawing from extensive interviews with Rader's pastor, congregation, detectives, and psychologists who worked the case, and from his unnervingly de-tailed thirty-two-hour confession, bestselling author Stephen Singular delves into the disturbing life and crimes of BTK to explore fully -- for the first time -- the most dangerous and complex serial killer of our generation and the man who embodied, at once, astonishing extremes of normality and abnormality. In Unholy Messenger, Singular recounts the year prior to Rader's arrest, in which the BTK killer reemerged, and the aftermath. Woven throughout are the details of his crimes, elaborate schemes, and bids for public attention, and the wrenching impact his deception had on his family, church, and heartland community.