Unidentified naked woman found dead in 2019 was likely killed in France, police say
After three years of investigation, the police managed to identify a woman whose naked body was found in a meadow in Westdorpe in June 2019. The victim is a 57-year-old woman from Dunkirk, France. The police believe her now-dead husband killed her in France.
A passerby found the woman’s naked remains in a meadow close to the canal from Terneuzen to Ghent on the Sint Anthoniekade, a few meters away from the border with Belgium, on 22 June 2019. The police immediately launched a large-scale investigation. But despite sharing her DNA and fingerprints with investigative authorities across Europe, a DNA kinship investigation, missing person reports in several countries, and a 15,000 euros reward for information, they couldn't identify her.
On Tuesday, 13 August 2019, the woman was buried in Terneuzen, the municipality where she was found. Her burial was well attended by the public and press, even though none of those at the funeral knew who she was.
Then last year, the case took a different turn when the French police found a dead man just outside Dunkirk after a relative raised concerns about him. The man appeared to have died of a medical cause, and the French police started looking for his wife to inform her of his death.
When they could not find her, the French authorities placed her DNA in an international database. That immediately set off a signal for the Dutch authorities. The DNA collected by French police was a perfect match to the unidentified woman in Westdorpe.
“Together, the French and Dutch police then looked at the investigation again, and the crime surrounding the woman's death,” Dutch police said. “The French investigation team has determined that the woman was most likely killed beforehand in her home country by her now-deceased husband.”
The police did not say how her body ended up in the Netherlands. Her remains will soon be transferred to her surviving family, the police said.
“As sad as this case is, it’s nice that the woman’s family now knows where she is. The case can now be closed appropriately, also by them,” said a Dutch detective.