Woman’s headless torso found in Copenhagen identified as missing journalist, police say

UPDATE, 7:03 a.m. ET Aug. 23: A DNA test has confirmed that a headless torso found on a Copenhagen beach belongs to missing journalist Kim Wall of Sweden, The Associated Press reported early Wednesday.

A Copenhagen police investigator said the torso had a piece of metal attached to it, “likely with the purpose to make it sink,” the AP reported.

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ORIGINAL STORY:Swedish journalist who disappeared almost two weeks ago after what was supposed to be a short ride on a private submarine in the waters off Copenhagen is dead, according to the sub’s owner.

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Suspect and Danish inventor Peter Madsen, 46, told a court in Denmark Monday that Kim Wall, 30, died in an accident and was buried at sea, CNN reported. After his arrest, Madsen first told authorities he dropped the journalist off alive on an island.

Wall, a Columbia University graduate and freelance journalist, was working on a story about Madsen’s 60-foot, privately built submarine and boarded the vessel on Aug. 10. She was never seen again.

This is an April 30, 2008 photo of submarine owner Peter Madsen. Madsen is in a Denmark jail on charges related to the disappearance of Swedish journalist Kim Wall. Madsen’s privately built submarine is pictured in the background.
Photo: Hougaard Niels/AP

The submarine, named the UC3 Nautilus, sank last Friday as Madsen was returning to Copenhagen. He was rescued and later arrested in Wall’s disappearance.

woman’s headless torso was found on Monday in Copenhagen, The Associated Press reported, but investigators said it was too soon to tell whether it was Wall.

Wall’s family talked with AP reporters and said while the journalist had worked in many dangerous places around the world, it was stunning that "something could happen ... just a few miles from the childhood home." 

Officials with the International Women’s Media Foundation at Columbia said on the foundations’s website that they were “heartbroken” over the death of Wall.

“Kim Wall was a dedicated journalist ... (who) was dogged in her pursuit of important and sometimes quirky stories. She was adored by those who knew her,” IWMF executive director Elisa Lees said.

Fellow Columbia classmate Valerie Hopkins said Wall had an exuberance that was contagious.

Units from Swedish Sea Rescue Society search in Lundakra Bay between Barseback and Landskrona, Sweden searching for missing Swedish journalist Kim Wall on Tuesday Aug. 15, 2017. Police from Sweden are assisting their Danish counterparts for clues in Wall’s disappearance. 
Photo: Johan Nilsson/AP

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“I have followed her work and marveled and how she was able to write stories from so many countries - from an in-depth look at voodoo in Haiti, to tourism in North Korea, to Idi Amin's legacy in Uganda. It shocks me that it was in Denmark, and not in any of those other places, that she met her end,” Hopkins said.

Wall wrote for many publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian and Time.

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