Police Narrow Profile of Human Remains Found on Queen's Estate

PHOTO: Police have launched an investigation after the remains were found by a walker in woods at the village of Anmer adjacent to the Queens Sandringham Estate.
Share
Copy

British police are re-examining local missing persons cases, including the disappearances last year of two young women, as they expand their investigation into the human remains discovered Sunday on the grounds of the vacation retreat where Queen Elizabeth and the royal family had spent the holidays.

A post-mortem examination conducted Tuesday found that the remains are those of a white female, between the ages of 15 and 23.

Detectives from Norfolk Police say they expect to have a DNA profile of the victim by this evening.

Police are now reopening lines of inquiry into missing persons cases that had gone cold in hopes of finding potential links to the body.

The body was discovered around 4 p.m. Sunday by a dog-walker at Sandringham Estate, a 20,000-acre public property northeast of London that includes the Queen's residence.

Police have classified the case as a murder investigation, saying it is "highly unlikely" the death was the result of natural death or accidental injury.

The missing persons cases said to be reopened include the disappearances of Alisa Dmitrijeva, 17, from Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, and Vitalija Baliutaviciene, 29, from Peterborough, both of whom vanished in August.

"We are at the very early stages of the investigation and it could be a complex inquiry," Detective Chief Inspector Jes Fry said at a news conference Tuesday at the estate. "The circumstances suggest this is a murder case and we are looking at missing persons reports and cold cases both locally and nationwide."

"Hopefully, in the next day or so we will have a good idea who we are dealing with and that may open fresh lines of inquiry," he said.

The family of 17-year-old Dmitrijeva, who disappeared from a small town just down the road from Sandringham, said, however, that police have already told them the body is not Dmitrijeva.

"We've spoken to her grandmother this morning and her grandmother is claiming that she's been told by police already that they do not believe that this body is their child," Duncan Larcombe, ABC News contributor and royal editor for the UK's Sun newspaper, said today on "Good Morning America."

Dmitrijeva was last seen on August, according to the UK's Daily Mail. A family member reported her missing seven days later and police have offered a reward for information on her whereabouts.

A Lithuanian man has been charged with the kidnap and murder of 29-year-old Baliutaviciene, who disappeared from her home Aug. 12, but her body was never discovered.

The human remains discovered Sunday were located one mile from the entrance to Sandringham House, the queen's main residence, and half a mile from Royal Stud, where the queen oversees the breeding and training of race horses.

The queen and Prince Philip had joined other royals in attending the traditional New Year's Day service at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene on the estate hours before the discovery was made.

Policy say the body lay undetected in the woods surrounding the queen's estate for between one and four months.

The area where the remains were discovered, Anmer, is home to several dozen people, and is accessible to the public at all times. It is also said to be a favorite spot of Prince Philip's.

"The area where the body was found is next to a small village on the estate, which is one of Prince Philip's favorite hunting grounds, where he likes to go out this time of year," Larcombe said.

Sandringham House has served as a private residence for British monarchs since 1862 and is a favorite of the royal family's as a holiday retreat. The royals, including Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate Middleton, had gathered there with the queen and Prince Philip to celebrate Christmas this year.

In addition to housing the queen, Sandringham Estate includes public gardens, villages and cottages with sitting tenants, horse grounds and fully operating farms.

The royals have not spoken publicly on the discovery, but police reportedly alerted them to the discovery Monday night.

"My understanding is that the queen is being kept informed of these developments when there is news to tell her," Larcombe said.

The queen and Prince Philip have announced no plans to leave the estate earlier than their planned Jan. 14 departure.

"I don't think they're going to come near this part of the estate but that's probably more to do with all the press and photographers that are here rather than part of the police investigation," Larcombe said.

The grounds surrounding the queen's residence at Sandringham are particularly busy this time of year with extra security personnel on hand to guard the royal family from the flock of tourists who travel to the estate in hopes of catching a glimpse of the family.

"It's an extraordinary place for someone to decide to dump a body because this place is also crawling with police most of the year because of its royal connections," Larcombe said. "…It's littered with foot paths, a lot of houses around here. There are sitting tenants here. There are state workers here."

While the murder investigation is the first to happen directly on the grounds of a royal palace, the storyline is eerily similar for the queen and her family.

The body of Robert James Moore, a U.S. man described as a loner and obsessed with the queen, was discovered in March on an island in St. James's Park near Buckingham Palace, roughly three years after Moore was believed to have died.

ABC News' Jean-Nicholas Fievet, Nick Watt, Simon McGregor-Wood and Carolyn Durand contributed to this report.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...