COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Police confirmed Wednesday that a torso found this week in local waters was that of Kim Wall, a Swedish freelance journalist who disappeared after boarding a Danish inventor’s submarine.
The announcement, which followed DNA tests of samples from the torso, turned what had started as a missing-persons case into what Christian Jensen, editor-in-chief of Politiken, Denmark’s largest daily, called “the most spectacular murder case in Danish history.”
The inventor, Peter Madsen, 46, has been held on preliminary charges of involuntary manslaughter. It is not yet known how Wall, 30, died, nor how or why her body was dismembered.
Her torso — missing its arms, legs, and head — was found by a cyclist on the edge of Amager Island on Monday afternoon, near where the submarine sank on Aug. 11. A postmortem examination began that night.
Madsen initially told investigators that he and Wall had gone out on the submarine, which he had designed, on the evening of Aug. 10 for an article Wall was working on, and that he had dropped her off later that night in a remote section of the port of Copenhagen.
But he later changed his story, telling investigators that Wall died accidentally on the submarine, which sank, and that he had buried her at sea.
Jens Moller, chief homicide investigator for the Copenhagen police, said at a news conference that metal had been attached to the torso to weigh it down.
He also said that coagulated blood had been found inside Madsen’s submarine, which was recovered from a depth of about 22 feet. Police have said that they believe the submarine was deliberately sunk.