Mutilated Torso Belongs to Journalist on Vanished During Assignment Aboard Sub, Police Confirm
The headless torso found by the shoreline in Copenhagen, Denmark, has been identified as the remains of the missing Swedish journalist
A headless torso found by the shoreline in Copenhagen, Denmark, has been identified as the remains of a Swedish journalist who vanished nearly two weeks ago while on assignment aboard a Danish inventor’s submarine, PEOPLE confirms.
Denmark police tell PEOPLE that DNA tests done on the female torso proved its connection to Kim Wall, 30, who was last seen alive on Aug. 10.
Forty-six-year-old Peter Madsen, who is being held on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in her death, allegedly told police that he buried Wall at sea after an accident on his privately-built submarine, which she boarded with him while working on her story.
Wall’s cause of death has not been released.
“It is with boundless sorrow and dismay that we received the news that the remains of our daughter and sister Kim wall have been found,” Wall’s mother, Ingrid, wrote in a Facebook post on the family’s behalf. “The Scale of the disaster is not yet fully transparent, and there are still a number of questions to be answered.”
Her mom’s post continued: “During the horrific days since Kim disappeared, we have had countless evidence of how loved and appreciated she was, as well as human and friend as a professional journalist. From all corners of the world, evidence of Kim’s ability to be a person that makes a difference.
“She has found and told stories from different parts of the globe, stories that must be written.”
Wall’s disappearance made international headlines, and her death has been described by one prominent local journalist as “the most spectacular murder case in Danish history,” according to The New York Times.
She boarded Madsen’s submarine in Copenhagen’s harbor on Aug. 10, according to authorities. But investigators say she never returned home and the following day was reported missing by her boyfriend.
Madsen’s submarine was seen periodically on Aug. 10 and 11, according to police, and on Aug. 11 a witness reportedly said he saw Madsen swim from the sinking watercraft, which was found 22 feet below the water and pulled to shore, according to Times. Madsen was arrested on Aug. 11.
A cyclist found Wall’s torso — missing its arms and legs — on Monday afternoon near where the submarine sank, according to the Times.
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Danish police said they suspect Madsen intentionally sank his submarine, noting that blood belonging to Wall was found inside, the BBC reports.
Jens Moller, the city’s chief homicide investigator, told the outlet that there was a piece of metal attached to the remains in an apparent attempt to keep the body from floating.
Speaking recently to Danish media, Madsen’s attorney, whom PEOPLE has not been able to reach, said the well-known inventor maintains his innocence and is cooperating with police. “People react differently when they have been out of a traumatic experience,” Engmar told Denmark’s TV2.
It is unclear if Madsen has entered a plea.
Wall, a freelance journalist, studied at Columbia University in New York, the London School of Economics and the Paris-Sorbonne University, according to the Associated Press. She had written for international outlets including The New York Times, Time magazine, The Guardian and the South China Morning Post.
“There’s a dark irony in Kim, who traveled to North Korea and reported from Haiti, should disappear in Denmark,” a colleague said in remembrance of her, according to the Times. “Perhaps it speaks to the vulnerability of female freelance journalists. To work alone and do everything.”
On social media, those who knew Kim shared link to some of her previous pieces, including dispatches from Cuba and Uganda.
“We should honour Kim Wall’s memory and share her work,” fellow journalist Lotte Folke wrote on Twitter, “so that no one gets to silence it.”