'Major Breakthrough' Claimed in Grisly Norwegian Mystery

Reporters may now know where the Isdal Woman came from
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2017 10:49 AM CDT

(Newser) – The team of Norwegian journalists investigating a decades-old grisly mystery believe they've made a "major breakthrough," the BBC reports. Reporters from NRK, Norway's national broadcaster, have spent the past year investigating the 1970 death of the "Isdal Woman." Now they say a chemical analysis of her teeth shows she likely grew up in an area along the border of France and Germany. The analysis—a new technique that had never before been performed by Norwegian police—also shows the Isdal Woman likely moved west from eastern or central Europe right before or during WWII. A scientist at the Norwegian Criminal Investigation Service says the results are "much more specific than I could have dreamed of."

The Isdal Woman's body was discovered in 1970 in a remote area of Norway's Isdalen valley. The front half of her body was badly burned—evidence points to it happening while she was alive—and she had dozens of sleeping pills in her stomach. But many investigators didn't believe she killed herself. A suitcase belonging to her contained disguises and a coded message—but no labels on clothing or anything else that could be used to identify her. Prior to her death, she stayed in a string of hotels under at least eight names—all of them fake. There were rumors she was a spy. The results of the chemical analysis may make it easier for NRK journalists to find people who knew the unidentified woman and finally solve the mystery. (Read more cold cases stories.)

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