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Kosminski Shawl DNA published as peer reviewed paper in Journal of Forensic Sciences

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  • #61
    I thought the following observation was worthy of a separate post.

    My correspondent observed that there is no direct evidence that the shawl is even blood-stained. This is startling. In reading the paper, one is definitely left with the impression that blood is being examined, but where is the evidence that it IS blood? The only mention is a visual observation, where Dr. L states that the stains are consistent with arterial spray. But this is hardly evidence. Similar stains could be made by a wine bottle suddenly opening, a sneeze, etc.

    Human mDNA was found in this “stain,” but, what proves that it originated in the stain?


    Is this even blood?

    As my correspondent notes, “In Edward’s book he states that a presumptive test for blood was inconclusive.”

    Inconclusive?

    Jeff--or anyone--what evidence is there that we are examining blood?

    Comment


    • #62
      "Regarding the alleged semen stains, a correspondent sent me the following link from several years ago, which is well worth reviewing. Note the similarity between semen stains and urine stains in the photographs. I also wonder about mucus stains but have yet to find any reliable photographs. Obviously, if this cloth is a decorative table runner, as used at weddings, holidays, etc., it could have stains from any number of different sources, human and otherwise."

      Yeah, you know what they always say any good wedding will always result in a semen stain or two.

      c.d.

      Comment


      • #63
        Something old, something new, something borrowed, something that glows blue under UV light?

        Comment


        • #64
          So I'm a very recent poster, but I've been to the Casebook a number of times over the years. I'm in PhD work in an area that intersects with a number of areas in philosophy, including epistemology. I'm going to break this in pieces, deliberately, not to be overly talkative or to attempt to dominate the conversation, but to try to break the issues down.

          It seems to me we are going about this one the wrong way, perhaps because of recent pieces of “evidence” that were different in kind. The question is multiplicative, we all understand if I have two cups, one with two marbles (one black, one white) and a second cup with five marbles, (non are black or white, and only one of which is red), the odds of my pulling only one marble from each and coming up with a black and red marble is one in ten, not one in five or one in two. Further, we tend to overestimate our knowledge of the facts in the case, when history of the case seems to indicate our knowledge of the facts is, in point of fact, weaker than we tend to realize. When it comes to Kosminski, one other factor we need to take into account is that a post-modern biases seems to be one of the major factors underlying the rejection of Kosminski as a suspect, though not the only one.

          There are three facts with this possible piece of evidence; an explanation of some type needs to be rendered. As I suggested before, I think the evaluation on its genuineness and value for the case are best thought of abductively, to capture all three strands.

          1. There is a piece of cloth, commonly called a shawl, that has some family history associating it with the killing of Catherine Eddows by Jack the Ripper. There are significant issues of provenance that are unanswered, for example, how Amos Simpson would have come into possession of the cloth, how Eddows would have come into possession of such a silk piece of cloth, or why it is not listed in the newspapers account. However, in evaluating this point, we need to account not only for the problems of provenance, but the problems of how the family history arose, that is, one must ask, why the family thought this piece of silk came from the slaying of an “unfortunate.” Additionally, while there are problems with the lack of reference to such a cloth in any of the records, as pointed out above, this may simply be one of the problems with our own overestimation of the facts in the case; the loss of the case notes for the Ripper killings creates major problems for moderns in trying to understand the police case. The reliability of this testimony is one we can’t calculate, in a lot of philosophy it would therefore be used as a .5, but in the real world, the actual probability is unknown.
          2. Second, the cloth has mtDNA associated with Eddows in a recent test. I am not an expert in DNA, and care should be taken in overestimating our understandings of fields we are not active participants in. Yes, this is not a conclusive link to Eddows, there are a large number of women (or men) who might fit that particular bit of evidence. There are great possibilities of contamination over the hundred years plus since the murders were committed, so that even if the artifact is authentic, the DNA may not be from the crime, itself. But, on the other hand, there are certain probabilities at play, I will not pretend to know the precise numbers, that suggest Eddows is a part of the community that could have deposited this bit of evidence, if it is 1 in 20,000 (not to suggest that is the proper number, 20,000 is chosen solely for illustrative purposes), then she is a red marble as opposed to being one of the 19,999 non-red marbles in our cup illustration above; there is, in analyzing this a number of issues of time, not only is this a question of sample size in Eddowes day.
          3. Third, the cloth has an mtDNA trace associated with one of the major police suspects in the case. There are issues with the identification, as we have the information on Kosminski years later, but we cannot dismiss the fact that three officers who had access to either the investigation itself, or those involved in the identification considered Kosminski a strong suspect. We once again do not have enough of our case notes to know how strong the case is against Kosminski, other than suggestions that an eye witness was involved. This leads to a similar issue with his candidacy as the source of the DNA as was true of the Eddowes above, but besides those issues, one other open question exists, and that is this type of testing has not been compared to other serious suspects.

          Comment


          • #65
            So, The facts above need to be accounted for, usually when new evidence or DNA is brought into the case, we discuss things primarily from sets of two facts or factors, not three, which usually leads to an almost syllogistic case. For example, Patricia Cornwall's major contribution in her second edition could be thought of as:

            1. The Ripper wrote most of the Ripper letters at the national archives.
            2. Paper samples demonstrate Walter Sickert wrote a number of those letters at the national archives.
            3. Therefore Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper.

            Or, the Maybrick diary could be represented this way.

            1. A diary contains a confession of Jack the Ripper.
            2. William Maybrick wrote the diary.
            3. Therefore William Maybrick was Jack the Ripper.

            But the triple set of factors makes this a more difficult case than the binary nature of these syllogisms, and none of the facts gives us something that is certain, but the combination is something I don't think we should simply dismiss either. We can explore the various segments, but an answer would need to explain all of them. As I noted first, I think our approach should be abductive, not deductive, in this case, to allow for the uncertainties. A case for the best explanation could start by noting the possibilities. These include

            1. Aaron Kosminski was Jack the Ripper and the cloth is from the crime scene.
            2. The tests performed were either seriously compromised or have been misrepresented (incompetence or fraud).
            3. The three facts cannot be explained by a single cause.

            Usually 3 is considered to be weaker than alternate explanations (on the economy principle), but how much weaker differs from case to case, given the amount of time, it is not "critically weak." I won't speculate on 2.

            Comment


            • #66
              I signed up to post due to an interesting question of what evidence would convince one that the case was solved. It's something I've been thinking about for a while. When I was in my twenties, I was very certain that Martin Fido's identification of David Cohen was the correct solution to the case. But when I began reading about the case for Tumblety, I began to realize how serious our lack of knowledge about the case is. When I was first introduced, for example, it was considered certain that grapes were found with Elizabeth Stride, that is less commonly asserted today, similarly, the fact that Francis Tumblety was a police suspect was unknown when I was younger, and led me to conclude the police were less certain as to a suspect than I had previously believed from the extant information we had. Without finding the lost casefiles, I came to the conclusion that the case will never be solved, at least not definitively with the information we currently possess.

              But instead of just rejecting the tests or accepting them as "Proof," it does not follow that we can't weigh suspects, arguing that some are strong suspects, others are relatively weak. All things being equal, outside of rejection or proof, we can take this as some added weight to the Kosminski theory, without treating it as absolute proof of the matter. Like the GSG it can be explained in various ways, and it is not "evidence of the first rank" it is merely the information that may, or may not, lend light onto the case. Perhaps something will happen to disprove the tests being raised here more definitively, if so we should at that point dismiss the cloth completely, but until that point, it seems to me we should just treat it as one more reason to consider Kosminski.

              Comment


              • #67
                Could Catherine have solicited Aaron and her "shawl" became contaminated from this interlude, before the Ripper even comes into the picture? Or are the results relatively conclusive- Aaron Kosminski was Jack the Ripper.

                Comment


                • #68
                  The shawl? Again? Really?

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Busy Beaver View Post
                    Could Catherine have solicited Aaron and her "shawl" became contaminated from this interlude, before the Ripper even comes into the picture? Or are the results relatively conclusive- Aaron Kosminski was Jack the Ripper.
                    Certainly. We would not be following the economy principle if we did, more recent contamination would be more likely I would think, but it's not impossible.

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Busy Beaver View Post
                      Could Catherine have solicited Aaron and her "shawl" became contaminated from this interlude, before the Ripper even comes into the picture? Or are the results relatively conclusive- Aaron Kosminski was Jack the Ripper.
                      Do you mean that the first suspect in the case, who was identified, could have been innocent, and just happened to contact Eddows before the ripper even came ?!

                      Sure.. why not, everything is possible, I can imagine more than this, that Druitt too contacted Eddows before both of them Kosminski and the ripper.. Or that Ostrog escaped from his prison in france, came to Whitechapel, contacted Eddows, then came Druitt, then Kosminski, before the ripper striked.

                      Nothing can disprove this.

                      The Baron

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by The Baron View Post

                        Do you mean that the first suspect in the case, who was identified, could have been innocent, and just happened to contact Eddows before the ripper even came ?!

                        Sure.. why not, everything is possible, I can imagine more than this, that Druitt too contacted Eddows before both of them Kosminski and the ripper.. Or that Ostrog escaped from his prison in france, came to Whitechapel, contacted Eddows, then came Druitt, then Kosminski, before the ripper striked.

                        Nothing can disprove this.

                        The Baron
                        How about that the deceased had no signs of intercourse.
                        G U T

                        There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by GUT View Post

                          How about that the deceased had no signs of intercourse.
                          Can we be 100% sure of this ?!

                          And that was not the point, yet we have the so called shawl, that happened to have mDNA that match both Eddows and Kosminski.

                          Do with this piece of Information whatever you want.

                          Imagination can take us everywhere, we have seen researchers that bieleve the name Kosminski was a mistake, although we have it written by two of the three police heads of the time, instead the name must have been Levy, Kamnski, Hayam, Cohen.....

                          We have even researchers that claim the witness was not a jew!

                          And then came the new generations of ripperologists, to say this identification didn't even take place.


                          You cannot stop a beautiful mind!


                          The Baron

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by The Baron View Post

                            Can we be 100% sure of this ?!

                            And that was not the point, yet we have the so called shawl, that happened to have mDNA that match both Eddows and Kosminski.

                            Do with this piece of Information whatever you want.

                            Imagination can take us everywhere, we have seen researchers that bieleve the name Kosminski was a mistake, although we have it written by two of the three police heads of the time, instead the name must have been Levy, Kamnski, Hayam, Cohen.....

                            We have even researchers that claim the witness was not a jew!

                            And then came the new generations of ripperologists, to say this identification didn't even take place.


                            You cannot stop a beautiful mind!


                            The Baron
                            Well autopsy said no signs of congress, so I guess if you think intercourse did take place, you are right and you can let the mind think what you want, but if you follow the evidence it didn’t, I know which I prefer, but then I’m a sucker for what evidence we have.
                            G U T

                            There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              I am saying that Aaron Kosminski may have been a client of Eddowes weeks or months before JTR hit the headlines, but did not have full or any S.I. and her shawl,clothing got contaminated by other ways. AK was known to have been a fan of Mrs Palmer and her 5 lovely daughters.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by GUT View Post

                                Well autopsy said no signs of congress, so I guess if you think intercourse did take place, you are right and you can let the mind think what you want, but if you follow the evidence it didn’t, I know which I prefer, but then I’m a sucker for what evidence we have.
                                The autopsies said habitually in all the Ripper cases that there were "no traces of recent connection", and that will have meant basically that there was no semen present on or in the female body. Sadly, that does not rule out that Kosminski could have ejaculated over the shawl after the deed, so in that respect, we must accept the possibility of semen stains from Kosminski present on the shawl.

                                However! If - which I do not believe at all - the shawl WAS present at the murder site, and IF - which I don´t believe either - it WAS found by Amos Simpson, it would present entirely new levels of incompetence if the shawl was not passed on to the case investigators for scrutinizing, in which case the semen stains would reasonably have been detected. The bloodstains alone would be reason enough not to lift the shawl out of the investigation and turn it into a gift for a policemans wife, a policeman who was probably never anywhere near the scene in the fist place.

                                The whole suggestion is - at best - laughable.

                                Comment

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