Armchair Sleuth Claims to Have Found the Identity of 'Jack the Ripper'

Armchair Sleuth Claims to Have Found the Identity of 'Jack the Ripper'
An illustration of Jack the Ripper
Alex Milan Tracy/REX

09/09/2014 AT 06:45 PM EDT

Just when you thought the identity of Jack the Ripper – the Victorian Age's most infamous serial killer – would never be solved, along comes an amateur sleuth who claims the culprit was a demented Polish barber named Aaron Kosminski.

"I've got the only piece of forensic evidence in the whole history of the case," Russell Edwards, a London-based property developer, told The Independent. "I've spent 14 years working on it, and we have definitively solved the mystery of who Jack the Ripper was. Only nonbelievers that want to perpetuate the myth will doubt. This is it now – we have unmasked him."

In Edwards's newly published book Naming Jack the Ripper, he details his search for the identity of the mysterious killer who murdered and mutilated five prostitutes in London's East End in 1888.

Edwards insists that DNA evidence found on a century-old blood-and-semen-stained scarf reportedly found at one of the crime scenes proves Kosminski, whom detectives had once considered to be a possible suspect, was the killer. Edwards purchased the silk shawl discovered near the body of victim Catherine Eddowes at an auction in 2007 and spent years having forensic scientists run tests on the semen stains that were compared to DNA from one of Kosminski's descendants.

But not everyone is convinced that Kosminski, who was 23 at the time of the killings, was savvy enough to pull off the gruesome murders that have remained unsolved for almost 130 years. "This guy was a borderline raving lunatic," Stephen P. Ryder, executive editor of an online forum for "Ripperologists," told NBC News.

Ryder and other critics complain that the findings of the DNA tests performed on the scarf were far too broad and need to be narrowed down before it can be proven that Kosminski, who spent much of his adult life in mental asylums, was responsible for the grisly killings. Over the years, Ripper investigators looked at nearly a hundred different suspects, including Queen Victoria's grandson, Prince Albert Victor.

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