Jack the Ripper
DNA evidence may have finally identified the infamous killer Jack the Ripper. The illustration shows the police discovering the body of one of Jack the Ripper's victims in London, England, in late September 1888. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

One of the most infamous mysteries in history has been the identity of Jack the Ripper. The Ripper has been one of several infamous serial killers and has had several suspects, but never a definitive answer as to who he was. Thanks to scientists in Great Britain, the mystery may have finally been solved.

According to the Journal of Forensic Sciences, via CBS News, genetic tests have pointed to Aaron Kominski. At the time of the murders, Kominski was a 23-year-old Polish barber who was the prime suspect in the original investigations.

For anyone who may not know the details, Jack the Ripper is believed to have killed at least five women from Aug. 31 to Nov. 9, 1888. The murders occurred in the Whitechapel district of London, but the Ripper’s identity was never discovered and no one was charged with the original murders.

Kominski was identified by scientists thanks to stained silk shawl that had been discovered next to the mutilated body of the fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes. The shawl was stained with what is believed to be the victim’s blood and the murderer’s semen.

The way he was identified was through fragments of the mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down solely by one’s mother. The scientists were then able to compare those to the DNA of Kominski and Eddowes’ living descendants as a means of identification.

In fairness, there are still those critical of the results of the test and whether or not they can be trusted. The general critiques have been the lack of “genetic variants” on the report and whether the shawl was reliable evidence. The latter is especially fair because there is no proof the shawl was ever at the crime scene and it could have been contaminated over the years.

Even so, if it turns out to be true, this technology could be useful in possibly identifying other unnamed serial killers.