Queen's Estate Body Mystery: Police Share New Details

Detectives identify the body as that of a white woman aged 15 and 23.

January 6, 2012, 5:24 AM

Jan. 6, 2012— -- DNA results have thus far proved inconclusive in the investigation of the human remains discovered on property belonging to the queen of England, though there is speculation that the body may be that of a 17-year-old girl who went missing last year.

Police in the U.K. are still unable to identify the body found on Sandringham Estate on New Year's Day, saying that it could take another three days. The DNA may match that of Alisa Dmitrijeva from the town of Wisbech, near Cambridge, U.K., who vanished last August and was last seen 10 miles from the royal grounds.

Investigators were able to analyze bone development and other samples, which have helped detectives identify the body as that of a white woman aged between 15 and 23. Police also said that the absence of ivy growing over the body means it was not put there earlier than August.

Detective Chief Inspector Jes Fry said despite the remains showing no obvious signs of injury, investigators in Norfolk, U.K. were still treating the incident as a murder inquiry, the BBC reported. Officers have asked the public for any information about people who organized events in the area in August and September of 2010.

"Speculation about the identity of the victim is unhelpful, particularly for the families involved. We are in touch with a number of families and are particularly focused on missing persons' cases in Norfolk and neighboring counties, he said at a Friday press conference. "My job is to remain objective and deal in facts to ensure the right outcome."

Fry said the decomposed state of the body had complicated efforts to compile a DNA profile, and that samples taken from teeth, bone and muscle tissue have now been sent for analysis with results expected back on Monday.

"We have not been able to establish how the victim died because of decomposition," Fry said. "For example, it is possible she was stabbed but the absence of flesh means we cannot identify that at this stage."

Police issued a further description of the victim, saying she was between 5'4" and 5' 6" tall, with high cheek bones.

The remains were discovered Sunday by a dog-walker in a woodland area at Anmer, a tiny village northeast of London that is part of the Sandringham Estate property used by the British family as a vacation retreat.

The body is that of a young adult female, detectives with the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team said Tuesday after conducting a post-mortem examination on the remains.

Without giving further specifics, officials involved in the examination said Tuesday that it is "highly unlikely" the death was a result of natural causes. Detectives also found no evidence of accidental injury, damage because of firearms or bladed weapon at the site.

The human remains were found near the Royal Stud where the queen oversees the breeding and training of race horses, and less than three miles from the queen's main residence on the estate, Sandringham House.

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 is a 20,000 acre property that includes public gardens, villages and cottages with sitting tenants, horse grounds and fully operating farms.

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.

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," Duncan Larcombe, royal editor for the UK's Sun newspaper, told ABC News.

The Queen and Prince Philip have not announced plans to leave the estate due to the discovery, instead, for now, choosing to remain through to their planned February departure.

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.

While the murder investigation might be 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.

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