REPORTING FROM LONDON -- The remains of a young woman found on the British royal estate of Sandringham are those of a missing 17-year-old girl, police said Sunday.
Forensic evidence identified the decomposed corpse as Alisa Dmitrijeva, a Latvian teenager who had been reported missing in August from her home in the town of Wisbech in eastern England, about 20 miles from Sandringham.
The girl’s remains were discovered New Year’s Day by someone walking a dog in a wooded part of Sandringham, the country estate where Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family traditionally spend the Christmas holidays. Part of the vast estate is open to the public; the body was found about three miles from the royal residence.
Police said the remains had lain there for some time and even called in an entomologist to examine insects at the site to help determine how long. An initial attempt to build a DNA profile from bone and muscle fragments failed, police said. But a test on a femur and details from one of the palms allowed detectives finally to identify the body as Alisa’s.
The death is being treated as suspicious.
Det. Chief Inspector Jes Fry, the lead officer in the case, said Sunday that police were now trying to establish whether any public events or activities took place in the area between the end of August and the end of September, around the time of Alisa’s disappearance.
The BBC reported that the area is popular for pheasant and partridge shoots, which are sometimes attended by members of the royal household. Police have interviewed the Sandringham estate’s manager, gamekeeper and beaters for leads.
-- Henry Chu
Photo: Police at the site last Tuesday where a young woman's body was found on the royal estate of Sandringham in eastern England. Credit: Ian Nicholson / Associated Press