News emerged on Wednesday that a headless torso discovered in Copenhagen waters was confirmed to be the body of a missing Swedish journalist who had disappeared earlier in August after boarding the self-crafted submarine of Danish inventor Peter Madsen. With the sad news of her death, many are likely wondering — what exactly happened to journalist Kim Wall?
Unfortunately, the answer to the "what happened" question is not yet incredibly clear. According to Sky News, Wall, a 30-year-old freelance journalist who has worked for publications including The New York Times and The Guardian, was last seen alive on Aug. 10. On that date, she had boarded the Nautilus submarine, a crowd-funded sub that Madsen had built himself. Wall had been interviewing Madsen for an article.
However, Wall apparently never re-emerged from the submarine, as her boyfriend reported her missing in the early morning of Aug. 11. As a result, the Danish Navy began searching for the Nautilus. The sub apparently resurfaced during their search and Madsen was rescued, telling authorities that Wall was safe and he had dropped her off in Copenhagen the evening prior.
However, as the Navy and police continued to investigate, they found that the Nautilus had been sunk intentionally, though there was no sign of Wall on board. However, Danish police did arrest Madsen on preliminary manslaughter charges. Madsen has denied any wrongdoing. Over a week later, Danish authorities subsequently reported that Madsen had changed his story and stated that Wall had died in an accident aboard the submarine and that he had "buried" her body at sea.
The location of Wall's body was not known until today, when a headless torso missing its arms, legs, and head, was discovered by a cyclist. Police noted that the arms and legs of the torso had been "deliberately cut off." Subsequent DNA tests confirmed that the torso was that of Wall.
At this point, beyond what Madsen has told Danish police, no one knows what exactly happened to Wall or whether Madsen is accurately depicting the nature of her death. Surely, Danish authorities are continuing to investigate the matter after the discovery of Wall's body and will hopefully soon have further insights as to what exactly happened to the journalist.
In the meantime, Wall's friends and family are paying tribute to the esteemed reporter and also remarking on the very sad irony of her death, with her friend, Victoria Shreve, noting in a Swedish newspaper, "There’s a dark irony in Kim, who traveled to North Korea and reported from Haiti, should disappear in Denmark ... Perhaps it speaks to the vulnerability of female freelance journalists.”
Hopefully Danish authorities will soon find more specific information about the cause of Wall's death, which could at least provide some concrete answers and comfort (in knowing) to her loved ones.