The media has been flooding out articles on the identification of Jack the Ripper via DNA testing. For the record, it’s not exactly true. A few things collided to make this “find” happen. First, the reported shawl of victim Catherine Eddowes was sold at auction in 2007. History channel had DNA tests run on the shawl to see if any DNA on it may have matched that of HH Holmes’ grandson. It didn’t.
The first problem with the stories is that stupid shawl. Yes, a shawl was found with Eddowes’ body. There’s a description of it in a the police report. In theory, that shawl was stolen from the evidence room of Scotland Yard by a police officer and eventually found its way to the current owner of it via auction. So, here’s the deal, I don’t know any policemen who are taking souvenirs from police evidence rooms. It would be incredibly unprofessional, not to mention, illegal. Now, the shawl that’s been tested does match the description from the police report. But that doesn’t mean it is the shawl. Even in 1888, shawls were being mass produced. Which brings us back to the providence of the shawl. If it was impounded as police evidence, who on earth stole it… and the better question why?
There is no statute of limitations on murder in the US or UK. That means if Jack the Ripper walked into a police station today at 161 years old (that’s if he was killing at 30 in Whitechapel) and confessed to being Jack the Ripper and provided proof, he’d still be tried and sentenced for the murders. Or rather he would be tried for the murders, he’d be acquitted because someone obviously tampered with evidence by stealing that shawl. Even 100 years after the murderers, I can’t picture a police officer stealing the shawl, because that would taint all the evidence in the case and a police officer would know that. And if the theft occurred before 1988, there would still be the chance that the suspect was alive and well and capable of standing trial for the murders… so was it stolen by the police officer to cover something up? Perhaps he was the killer and stealing the shawl was an attempt to destroy evidence?
The second problem is they compared mitochondrial DNA to suspects in the Ripper case. Mitochondrial DNA is heartier than regular DNA. But it’s also only passed down by a mother. This means even Kominsky’s children (the supposed suspect it matched) wouldn’t have the same mitochondrial DNA as Kominsky himself. They’d have their mom’s mitochondrial DNA. In other words to tie Kominsky to the murders, via mitochondrial DNA they would have had to use Kominsky’s sister’s children’s DNA. I get nervous when evidence starts to have that many possessives before it. Essentially, Kominsky and his siblings would share mitochondrial DNA. But if Kominksy’s brother had kids, those kids would not share mitochondrial DNA with Kominsky. Only, Kominksy’s sister’s children would share his mitochondrial DNA. And then, only the children born of Kominsky’s sisters’ daughters.
Let’s try to clarify that a little. Using J’s family. J has a brother David. J and David both inherited mitochondrial DNA from their mom. J’s brother David had one child, a boy. J and his nephew Codie, do not share mitochondrial DNA, because Codie’s DNA came from his mom who is not related to J. Codie also had a son, Caiden. Caiden and Codie do not share mitochondrial DNA, because Caiden’s mitochondrial DNA came from his mom and since we aren’t big on inbreeding, Codie and his wife are not related to each other. Now, in my mom’s family there were 7 girls. This means I share mitochondrial DNA with all my first cousins on my mom’s side, because we all inherited our mitochondrial DNA from our mother’s who got it from our grandmother. But I only share mitochondrial DNA with the 2nd cousins on my mom’s side born to my female first cousins, so I share mitochondrial DNA with Mel’s kids, because Mel is female. However, I do not share mitochondrial DNA with Mel’s brother’s kids, because there mother wasn’t related to us. So, now that mitochondrial DNA lineage is as clear as mud…
However, if the Shawl is Eddowes’, it might strengthen the idea that Jack the Ripper was really Jill the Ripper, since there were several large splotches of female DNA found that do not match the control sample for Catherine Eddowes.