The internet became abuzz Sunday as the Liverpool Echoreported that a forensics expert named Dr. Jari Louhelainen, a senior lecturer in molecular biology at Liverpool John Moores, had discovered the identity of Jack the Ripper by extracting 126-year-old DNA from a shawl found by the body of Catherine Eddowes, one of the Ripper’s victims.
The shawl, bought at auction by Birkenhead-born businessman Russell Edwards in 2007, was found to contain DNA from her blood as well as DNA from the killer, who was revealed to (maybe?) be…
Aaron Kosminksi, a Polish immigrant.
Kominski immigrated to England in 1881 with his family, settling into a Jewish slum called Whitechapel on London’s East End. Having spent time at two different asylums, he was a prime suspect of the police at the time but was never charged.
And as the Governor of Texas reminded us on CNN, this isn’t the first time that immigrants have been responsible for vicious crimes in the countries they’ve emigrated to, and it certainly won’t be the last.
To refresh your memory…
Born in Mexico (because of course he was), Corona first entered the United States in 1950 by crossing the border into California illegally (because of course he did). The 16-year-old illegal then picked carrots and melons in the Imperial Valley for three months before quitting (because of course he did) and moving on north to the Sacramento Valley. When a widespread destructive flood hit northern California in 1955, killing 38 people, Corona had a mental breakdown, believing everyone had died in the flood and that he was living in a land of ghosts (that most likely looked like those Mexican Halloween skulls). He was promptly deported back to Mexico, only to return to the U.S. legally with a green card where he began work staffing local fruit ranches.
And then, instead of being grateful for the job he took from actual Americans, he ended up killing about 25+ of those ranch workers and burying them in shallow graves throughout the fruit orchards of Sutter County, California.
Frederick Mors immigrated to New York City from Austria-Hungary in 1914, getting a job at a German nursing home in the Bronx thanks to his ability to speak the language of our enemy. Even though he had no formal medical training, he would wear a white lab coat and stethoscope and insisted that elderly patients address him as “Herr Doktor,” and anything that sounds that German can’t be American.
Once the rate of fatalities at the nursing home jumped during his employment, the police investigated Mors and, surprisingly, found him to be cooperative and readily admitting to the murders, claiming that they were mercy killings and that his victims had been nuisances (or JEWsiances?!).
He was found to be criminally insane and was committed to the Matteawan Institution for the Insane, only for him to escape and never be caught again.
Hannibal Lecter was born in Lithuania in 1938 to wealthy parents. His father was a count, his mother a descendant of the famous Visconti family of Milan (he is said to be a cousin of the artist Balthus), and he had a younger sister named Mischa as well. When Lecter was six, a group of German deserters retreating from Russia shelled his family’s estate, killing his parents and most of the servants. Lecter, his sister, and other local children were rounded up by the group of deserters to be used as sustenance during the cold Baltic winter. Mischa was killed and cannibalized, but young Lecter managed to escape. It is believed that this event would shape the rest of Lecter’s life.
By the 1970s Lecter had established a psychiatric practice in Baltimore, Maryland. He became a leading figure in Baltimore society, indulging his extravagant tastes by influencing some of his patients to bequeath him large sums of money in their wills. When a series of bizarre, cannibalistic murders hit the Baltimore area, FBI Special Agent Will Graham turned to the brilliant Lecter advice. However, as Graham began to suspect it was Lecter himself that was the killer, Lecter attacked him, only for Graham to survive and arrest Lecter.
Lecter did go on to use his brilliant mind to help the FBI in future investigations, proving that under careful government surveillance, there is a chance for immigrants to be productive members of society.
After 125 years, it looks like the Jack the Ripper case can still teach us a thing or two…