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Australia's biggest murder mystery solved after 74 years - voila! news


The Somerton Man mystery, the unsolved case of an unidentified man's body found on Somerton Park beach in 1948, has finally been solved by innovative DNA technology

Australia's biggest murder mystery has been solved after 74 years

The Somerton Man mystery, an unsolved case of an unidentified man's body found on Somerton Park beach in 1948, has finally been solved by cutting-edge DNA technology - and you won't believe who (presumably) the killer is

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022, 12:04 AM

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It took almost 74 years to solve one of the world's biggest murder mysteries, but thanks to advanced DNA technology it looks like the killer of the unidentified man known as the "Somerton Man" has finally been found.

That is, unidentified to this day - after new, intriguing and tragic details were discovered about the body of the man found in December 1948 on the beach of Somerton

Park, about 11 km southwest of the city of Adelaide in Australia.

These words appeared on a piece of paper found in the murdered man's pocket and led the investigators to search for the book of poems "Raba'iat", from which it was torn. The investigators found there a phone number and a secret code that has not been deciphered to this day. Now the investigators believe that they have discovered the identity of the man and that he found his death The tragic as a result of a "toxic" marriage.

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The body of the mystery man was found on the beach well dressed in an American style double jetted shirt and tie, with all possible means of identification removed from his clothing.

A search of the dead man's pockets revealed an unused train ticket, an aluminum comb made in the USA, a half-empty packet of Juicy Fruit chewing gum, several cigarettes and several matches. An unlit cigarette was found on the man's chest and in one of his pockets was a piece of paper with the Persian phrase tamám shud (Tamam Shud), which means "complete and complete". Later, the book of poems from which the page had been torn was found, "Rabaayat" by the Persian poet and mathematician Omar Khayyam. On the inside back cover, the detectives noticed a handwritten text: telephone number, unknown number Added a text that looks like a coded message - which has never been deciphered.

The phone number belonged to an area resident named Jessica Thomson, who told police she had never met the dead man and had no idea why he had her phone number.

Investigators assumed at the time that the cause of death was poisoning, although this could not be determined.

After performing an autopsy, the pathologist stated: "I am quite convinced that death could not have been natural. The poison I think was used was barbiturate or a soluble hypnotic."

In the absence of any other explanation, the pathologist determined that the man had most likely been poisoned (or poisoned himself) and believed that this was done with an anesthetic.

However, no traces of poison were found in the body.

Also, no evidence was found that the man suffered from convulsions or vomiting - two very common side effects in the case of poisoning.

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Public interest surrounding the case was high, not only because of the secret code or the undetectable poison - but also because the death occurred at a time of heightened international tension in the early days of the Cold War - and many believed that the Alemannic man was in fact a spy.

In those years, shortly after the end of World War II, paranoia about the Soviet threat increased and there was widespread speculation that the "Somerton Man" was involved in espionage.

The Woomera rocket base and a uranium mine were both relatively close to the beach where his body was found.

The case also attracted international attention.

South Australian police consulted with their colleagues overseas and distributed information about the dead person around the world.

Despite international searches, the man's identity has never been determined.

In May 2021, the South Australian Police exhumed the body of the "Somerton Man" from its resting place at West Terrace Cemetery for DNA testing.

Dr Ann Cookson of Forensic Science South Australia [FSSA] said: "The technology available to us now is clearly light years ahead of the techniques that were available when this body was discovered in the late 1940s." She added that her agency would use every method at their disposal To try to close this case once and for all.

solving the mystery

Experts from Forensic Science SA have had difficulty analyzing the DNA due to the small amount of "samples to compare", but while the FSSA has yet to announce any conclusions, University of Adelaide researcher Derek Abbott says he can already tell the mystery man is Karl. Charles Webb, 43-year-old electrical engineer and instrument maker from Pottskerrie, Melbourne.

Abbott sequenced the DNA from strands of hair from the man's body trapped in a plaster mask taken from his face by police in the late 1940s to build a DNA profile.

After the researchers built a family tree of about 4,000 people, Abbott and renowned American genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick reached a major breakthrough last month when they successfully matched DNA from the hair to samples from Webb's distant relatives.

Working with Fitzpatrick, Abbott was able to reconstruct the mystery man's family tree and determine that Carl Webb had a DNA match to the dead man - and that he had indeed disappeared after his 1947 divorce.

Abbott told CNN:

It can now be revealed that Webb's wife, Dorothy Jean, filed for divorce almost three years after his body was found and that Webb suffered several devastating tragedies before disappearing one fine day.

Webb was the youngest of six children.

He was born in 1905 in Melbourne.

In official documents obtained by The Advertiser, it can be seen that his wife filed for divorce from Webb, who she said was "grumpy and rude", on June 5, 1951 on the grounds of "defection".

"When he would lose at cards, he would be sullen and rude to me, or anyone else," Mrs. Webb said in the divorce papers.

Mrs. Webb also complained that her husband sometimes refused to speak to her: "One night in January 1946 he told me that we were not suitable for each other and that it would be better if we broke up."

However, she described him as living a quiet life and going to bed at 7pm every night.

They married in October 1941 and separated in April 1947. Four months after filing for divorce, she placed an ad addressed to him in the Missing Friends section of The Age newspaper in Melbourne.

It was an official notice of impending divorce proceedings, which read: "If you do not appear at the Prothonotary's Office of the Supreme Court in Melbourne on or before 29 October 1951, the case may proceed in your absence."

She was granted a divorce in April 1952.

The documents showed that four of Webb's close relatives had died in a seven-year period during their marriage.

He lost a brother and a nephew in World War II,

Professor Abbott added that the researchers had found a connection between Webb and the name 'T. Keane' - which was printed on the Somerton man's tie.

"It turns out that Carl Webb had a brother-in-law named Thomas Kean, who lived only 20 minutes away in Victoria," Professor Abbott told ABC News, "so it's not impossible that his items of clothing in which 'T. Kean' appeared were just handouts from his brother-in-law."

Professor Abbott said they had also found a possible reason why the body was found in Adelaide: "We have evidence that he had separated from his wife and that she had moved to South Australia, so he may have come there to find her," he said.

Abbott claims he did not report his findings to South Australian police because they were conducting a "parallel investigation".

Genealogist Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick said Mrs. Webb's claims are only half the story. "In a divorce you want to hear from each side, and if they're in that difficult state of mind - it's possible they really wanted to destroy each other." Dr. Fitzpatrick suspects Webb suffered from mental problems and his condition deteriorated.

She told CNN: "It's like one of those folklore mysteries that everyone wants to solve — and we did."

South Australian police, who are conducting a parallel investigation, have not yet verified Abbott's findings.

Professor Abbott hopes their work will be approved by the authorities to enable further research into Webb's life.

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Source: walla

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