aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Germany tracks a female serial killer - and finds it's been looking in all the wrong places

A fascinating article in Time magazine begins, "The murderer dubbed the Phantom of Heilbronn had been baffling German investigators for two years. The criminal was a rarity, a female serial killer, and a very busy one: police had linked DNA evidence from 40 crimes — including the infamous homicide of a policewoman in the southern German town of Heilbronn — to the same woman. Police had found her DNA on items ranging from a cookie to a heroin syringe to a stolen car. They had put a $400,000 reward on her head. Profilers from around Europe were called in to help hunt her down."

What was so weird about the case was that she was not only a killer, but also a petty thief. She committed crimes all over Germany. And criminals who had also been at the scene denied knowing anything about her.

The answer was all in the Q-Tips used to take DNA samples. The same woman - presumably who worked at the Q-Tip factory - had packaged all the Q-Tips used in these cases, contaminated them with miniscule amounts of her DNA.

Read more here.

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