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Turns Out Jack The Ripper's True Identity Is Still Unknown

After testing DNA from a shawl found near one of Jack the Ripper's victims, a scientist said he'd identified the killer. New reports refute the claim.
Posted at 5:43 PM, Oct 20, 2014

It's a mystery that's left researchers baffled for more than a century. 

THE BIOGRAPHY CHANNEL: "One of the world's most infamous killers ... responsible for the murder of five prostitutes on London's East End. ... Crime scenes so gruesome ... Jack the Ripper." 

But who was this shadowy serial killer who got away with so many murders 126 years ago? 

Just last month, molecular biologists said DNA testing finally put a face to the haunting name. "Hairdresser shown here, Aaron Kosminski, was the infamous killer."  

But now, news has surfaced one tiny error in the DNA analysis proves the supposed identify of the Ripper to be false. That mistake — misplacing a decimal point.  

WWMT: "The scientist examining the DNA put a decimal point in the wrong location. When you fix that mistake, the blood from the shawl could be linked back to half the human population."

So, as The Independent points out, the mistake, discovered by an Australian blogger, means just about anyone could be Jack the Ripper — so we're back to square one. 

One of the only relics left from the infamous 19th century crime spree is the shawl of the fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes. That was the key focal point in the most recent examination into the killer's identity. 

HISTORY CHANNEL: "It was a piece of Catherine Eddowes' apron. He used it to wipe his hand on because it was covered in blood and mess from inside her body." 

Russell Edwards is the researcher who conducted the DNA testing"I've managed to conclusively prove scientifically from the evidence left there the identity of Jack the Ripper." (Video via Pan MacMillian via Daily Mail

Of his findings, Edwards said: "Only non-believers that want to perpetuate the myth will doubt. This is it now – we have unmasked him." 

Edwards bought the shawl in a 2007 auction. With it came a letter from a police officer's relative who claims the officer found the shawl next to Eddowes' body and took it.

THE INDEPENDENT: "It's interesting evidence, but it's evidence that's going to get torn apart. It's going to be argued over debated over. And then six months down the line, another likely suspect's going to come forward. ... We'll never know for certain who he was." 

One specific issue that was brought up since the beginning of the examination of the shawl is how many people have probably touched it. As Catherine Eddowes was a prostitute, she likely came in contact with a number of men from that area who, in turn, probably left behind traces of DNA. 

Although the efforts to identify Jack the Ripper have been slowed, a writer for Casebook notes"One can only applaud those willing to take a scientific approach to the Jack the Ripper mystery. ... But remember — the beauty of science is that it can be independently tested and verified. And as it stands now, [the] claims must be taken with a heavy dose of salt."

A last point — Aaron Kosminski, the Polish immigrant Edwards thought was the Ripper, has been on a list of suspects, along with two other men, since 1894. 

This video includes images from Polize Gazette and British Museum.