The body of a woman with a flower tattoo, found in a river in Antwerp in 1992, matched that of a British woman, Interpol announced after 31 years this Tuesday (14). Rita Roberts could be identified thanks to a “black flower tattooed on her left forearm, with green leaves and the word ‘R Nick’ inscribed below”, according to a statement from the international police cooperation organization, based in Lyon (central region of France). “A family member in the UK recognized the tattoo and notified Interpol and Belgian authorities via the ‘Identify Me’ website,” she explains.
This unprecedented campaign, launched by Interpol in May, appeals to the general public to help identify the bodies of 22 women recovered over several decades in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands – including that of Rita Roberts – and advance investigations into these unresolved cases.
Interpol publishes on its website and social networks a selection of information, previously reserved for internal use, dedicated to the identification of human remains. Around “1,250 contributions from the public” have already been collected, but Rita Roberts is the first to be identified thanks to the program. Her family members went to Belgium and “formally identified” her, according to Interpol.
The young woman had left Cardiff for Antwerp in February 1992. The last sign of life received by her family is a postcard dated May 6, according to Belgian police. She was 31 years old at the time. On June 3, a body was found in the river “Het Groot Schijn”. The victim, according to the Belgian police, “died a violent death”. Her tattoo caught attention, but nothing allowed her to be identified.
“After 31 years, a dead, unidentified woman was able to recover her identity and her family was able to move on”, highlights Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stockk.