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Submitting the Dear Boss envelope for DNA testing

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  • #16
    Easier than finding astatine 211
    My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Astatine211 View Post

      If complete DNA could successfully be extracted it would be entered into a DNA database like GEDmatch or a similar alternative. If we're lucky it could come back with a match to a modern descendant. As you said it would most likely be a distant relative especially with the amount of time that's past. It would then be a daunting process of trying to trace that person's ancestors back in time until we had all the relatives possible who were in London at the time the letters were sent. This could either be easy, say if the match had a complete family tree or had been tracking ancestors on Ancestry already and might be willing to share it, or extremely difficult, certain DNA can have many false positives or the match might be in a different country with a extremely common surname. At any point in the process we could hit a brick wall or dead end.

      I think the sender could easily be a hoax but there's still a chance it could be the Ripper. What I believe is to establish the author of the Dear Boss and Saucy Jack postcard is an important part of the overall case. Without these two correspondences Jack the Ripper would likely be know as the Whitechapel Murderer and the identity that is Jack the Ripper wouldn't be what it is. Handwriting analysis (whilst very unreliable) does suggest that the Dear Boss letter and Saucy Jack postcard are written by the same hand. IMO after evaluating every Ripper correspondence there are 5 (6 if you include GSG) that are of relevance to the case.

      Police at the time of the murders believed the Saucy Jack, Dear Boss and From Hell letters were the only three genuine ones. Regardless of whether they are legitimate or hoaxes the Saucy Jack postcard and Dear Boss letter created the identity of Jack the Ripper. The author could easily be Thomas Bulling or Fred Best but we already have two possibilities of potential journalists who claimed to have written them and it couldn't have been both. The From Hell letter is likely lost forever and the Saucy Jack postcard has no stamp so there's no place the sender could've left saliva on it. That leaves the Dear Boss envelope as the only avenue to attempt.
      The good news is that the National Archives have allowed some DNA testing on materials previously so you have some precedence.

      I highly doubt they will send it off to some laboratory somewhere - so your best bet might be to make it as risk free as possible for them. I’d imagine they might allow a scientist to go to the archives and see if they can extract anything direct off the paper before they allow it to be sent off-site.

      I have a friend who happens to be a professor of machine learning and DNA sequencing at Copenhagen University. He was part of the team that successfully profiled the full genome of a dead horse frozen in Siberian permafrost over 500,000 years ago. I’ll ask him what he would do.
      "When the legend becomes fact... print the legend"
      - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

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      • #18
        Great to see your positive attitude erobitha.

        Someone is probably going to have to fund this.

        Any casebookers interested as a group,not going to be cheap.
        My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

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        • #19
          Originally posted by DJA View Post

          The remains of King Richard III, who died in 1485, were identified by comparing his mtDNA with that of two matrilineal descendants of his sister who were alive in 2013, 527 years after he died.
          Certainly, because we had a name to start with, modern descendants of King Richard III would have been traceable through a family tree. With the 'stamplicker', we have nothing unless we begin looking at the descendants of the Enterprising journalist.
          Regards, Jon S.

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          • #20
            I have a better target
            My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

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            • #21
              A different target, yes, I imagine so.

              Regards, Jon S.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by DJA View Post
                Great to see your positive attitude erobitha.

                Someone is probably going to have to fund this.

                Any casebookers interested as a group,not going to be cheap.
                Might as well start with the obvious then, the descendants of; Tom Bulling, Charles Moore & Fred Best, to keep the cost down.
                Regards, Jon S.

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                • #23
                  Henry Gawen Sutton.
                  My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

                    Certainly, because we had a name to start with, modern descendants of King Richard III would have been traceable through a family tree. With the 'stamplicker', we have nothing unless we begin looking at the descendants of the Enterprising journalist.
                    Hi,

                    Well, if there were unlimited funds, and if it were possible to obtain a useable DNA profile from the back of the stamp (the first is not true obviously, and the latter is unlikely as far as I understand), then one could do the sort of genealogical analysis that has been successful in some cold cases. To the extent it would narrow the search sufficiently to provide an identification is unknown until done, of course, but presumably it would narrow down to a set of candidates who could become the focus of more focused comparisons.

                    I suspect, though, that no useable DNA profile would result, but as I'm have no expertise in that field, my suspicions do not mean anything one way or the other. The cost for such an endeavor would be prohibitive I would imagine. So while the will might be there, the funds are not, particularly as the starting point is that the expected outcome is to find the letter to be a hoax.

                    If we had the From Hell letter, that might be of more interest as there is more pointing towards it being a possible genuine letter, and even that has never been universally agreed upon.

                    - Jeff
                    Last edited by JeffHamm; 04-04-2021, 10:16 PM.

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                    • #25
                      Toddle off and do some useless maps.

                      There are people here with positive intent.
                      My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

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                      • #26
                        Why specifically is it the Dear Boss letter that's being chosen for this analysis? The Dear Boss letter was almost certainly a hoax, perpetuated by an enterprising journalist. Any DNA extracted from it would only point you to THAT guy's bloodline, not the killer. I'm of the opinion that if any Ripper letter has even the slightest chance of being authentic (from the killer himself), it's only the From Hell letter that came with the Lusk kidney. And I even have my doubts about that one.

                        I suppose analyzing these letters for DNA would make for an interesting exercise, mostly to see if any usable DNA can even be extracted. But to identify the killer? Not likely. On the other hand, if DNA can be used to confirm that it was a journalist who sent the letter, it would be kind of interesting to put that to bed once and for all.

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                        • #27
                          Have a peep at the second post.
                          My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by DJA View Post
                            Henry Gawen Sutton.
                            There's an old saying - "put your money where your mouth is". Instead of presenting your case, you repeatedly hint at it on unrelated threads. If you really think you have a solution, then present it clearly with evidence in a dedicated thread. But you seem wedded to your current strategy of repeated self-promotion, so I doubt you will ever clearly and completely present your case.

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                            • #29
                              This is the first response from my DNA / Machine Learning Professor friend. Like most people he has an awareness of JtR but he would like to investigate in more detail the types of conditions the letters and envelopes are likely to be stored in before he recommends the best tests for the purpose I explained. His response is below, will add to thread when he comes back with more:

                              “Good because I would not like to answer too quickly. I mean there is metagenomics sequencing which would be a good start, but the fact we are talking about a sample from 1888 that has more than likely not been stored in the most favourable conditions, I would need time to look into it a little more. Anything is possible these days with regards to testing. I’ll get back to you.”
                              "When the legend becomes fact... print the legend"
                              - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by erobitha View Post
                                This is the first response from my DNA / Machine Learning Professor friend. Like most people he has an awareness of JtR but he would like to investigate in more detail the types of conditions the letters and envelopes are likely to be stored in before he recommends the best tests for the purpose I explained. His response is below, will add to thread when he comes back with more:

                                “Good because I would not like to answer too quickly. I mean there is metagenomics sequencing which would be a good start, but the fact we are talking about a sample from 1888 that has more than likely not been stored in the most favourable conditions, I would need time to look into it a little more. Anything is possible these days with regards to testing. I’ll get back to you.”
                                Awesome. Thank you for asking him about this.

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