Who Was Kim Wall? The Swedish Journalist Died Under Mysterious Circumstances
New DNA evidence released Wednesday morning confirmed that the headless torso that washed up on the shores of Copenhagen, Denmark was in fact that of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, who was apparently killed while on a submarine trip.
Wall was writing a feature piece on inventor Peter Madsen, who took her on his submarine, the Nautilus. They departed from Copenhagen Harbor around 7:00 p.m. local time the night of Aug. 10, for what was supposed to have been a short trip. The last known picture of Wall was captured by a man on a passing cruise ship, around 10:30 p.m. that night. By 2:30 a.m. on the morning on Aug. 11, Wall's boyfriend had reported her missing. The submarine then sank around 11:00 a.m. on Aug. 11, and Wall's torso washed up on shore on Aug. 13.
Madsen denies any wrongdoing in the incident, but has been charged with negligent manslaughter. However, those charges may soon be upgraded thanks to new evidence. "The current situation is that there is a torso in which arms, legs and head have been removed off as a result of deliberate cutting," Jens Moller Jensen of the Copenhagen police said, according to the BBC.
Madsen has also changed his story of what happened that day multiple times. Madsen originally said that he had dropped Wall off safely on shore the night of their trip, then admitted that she had died in an accident on the boat and said that he had "buried her at sea." The police investigation has also confirmed that the submarine crash was intentional, casting further doubt on Madsen's version of events. Again, he has denied any wrongdoing.
For those who knew her, and, it seems, the journalism industry as a whole, Wall's death is a heartbreaking loss. Valerie Hopkins, a former classmate of Wall's from her master's program at Columbia University, remembered Wall as a dedicated and fearless journalist who traveled the world in search of stories that needed telling.
"What anyone who met her for even a short time knows that her exuberance is (I can't bring myself to write in the past tense) contagious," Hopkins wrote for the International Women's Media Foundation, an organization that Wall worked with. "In the four years since we graduated, I have followed her work and marveled [at] how she was able to write stories from so many countries -- from an in-depth look at voodoo in Haiti, to tourism in North Korea, to Idi Amin's legacy in Uganda."
“Kim Wall was a dedicated journalist, and loved by our network of staff and global journalists who worked closely with her. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kim’s family, friends and colleagues during this heart-wrenching time,” said Elisa Lees Muñoz, executive director of the IWMF, according to the organization's statement on Wall's death. “She was dogged in her pursuit of important and sometimes quirky stories. She was adored by those who knew her.”