Authorities confirmed Wednesday that a headless body found off the coast of Denmark belonged to missing journalist Kim Wall. Wall, 30, was last seen boarding a submarine with Danish inventor Peter Madsen Aug. 10 as part of a story she was writing.
Copenhagen Police said they confirmed the torso belonged to Wall through DNA testing. Wall’s body was weighted down with a piece of metal and had marks on it that appeared to show someone had attempted to get the air out of the body so it wouldn’t float, according to BBC News. Her arms, legs and head had been deliberately cut off, police said.
Investigators declined to say what Wall’s cause of death was but noted they were still carrying out forensic testing to determine exactly what happened.
The submarine sank shortly after Wall was reported missing. Madsen initially told police she had left the submarine in Copenhagen where he dropped her off. He later changed his story and said he dumped Wall’s body into the sea after she died in an accident. Traces of blood were found inside the submarine, according to police. Madsen remained held on charges of involuntary manslaughter. He pleaded not guilty during a hearing earlier in the month.
“It took about 30 seconds for Nautilus to sink and I couldn’t close any hatches or anything,” Madsen said in an interview with Danish television station TV2. “But I guess that was pretty good because I otherwise still would have been down there.”
Madsen told reporters that a “curse lies over Nautilus.”
“That curse is me,” he reportedly told Danish tabloid BT. “There will not be calm around Nautilus as long as I exist.
Police said finding the body amounted to a major “breakthrough in the investigation” and that they would continue to search for other parts of her body. Madsen’s lawyer, however, said finding the body did not change the fact that Wall’s death was an “accident.”
It doesn’t change my client’s explanation that an accident happened,” Betina Hald Engmark reportedly told BT. “No matter what, we find it very positive that she has been found now.”
Wall, a freelance journalist from Sweden, had previously written for the New York Times, the South China Morning Post, the Guardian and other publications.
“During the horrendous days since Kim disappeared, we have received countless examples of how loved and appreciated she was, as a person and as a friend, as well as a professional journalist,” her mother, Ingrid Wall, said in a statement on Facebook. “From all corners of the world we have received testimony to how she was able to be a person who made a difference.”