Police say they have received more than 200 tip-offs about the murders of 22 unidentified women throughout northern Europe.
Police in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands said they were following up on 122 potentially useful tips for cases in Germany, 55 in Belgium and 51 in the Netherlands a week after the three countries launched a campaign to find the names of the women.
All the women were discovered dead between 1976 and 2019, and police working with Interpol say they “deserve to get their names back”.
Information given to police includes possible names of victims and potential leads about clothing and jewellery the women were wearing.
As the women were all believed to have been murdered, police hope that identification might lead to criminal investigations.
Most of the victims were aged between 15 and 30 but police say it is difficult to establish the exact circumstances of their deaths without knowing their names or who killed them.
“The information we are receiving now gives us hope for several cases,” the BBC reports Dutch police official Martin de Wit as saying. “Every tip can make a difference for the next of kin of the victims.”
The so-called black notices have been released as part of the Operation Identify Me campaign. These are normally only circulated internally among Interpol’s network of police forces and include details about the women, photographs of possible identifying items, and in some cases facial reconstructions.
In a statement, police said they were analysing the information they had received, and their first priority would be informing the family if any of the victims’ identities were discovered.
The campaign was initiated by police in the Netherlands after they were unable to identify a woman whose body was found in a wheelie bin floating in a river on the outskirts of Amsterdam in 1999.
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Other cases include a woman with a distinctive tattoo of a black flower with green leaves and ‘R’NICK’ written underneath who was found lying against a grate in a river in Belgium in 1992, and a woman’s body found wrapped in a carpet at a sailing club in Germany in 2002.
Dr Susan Hitchin, coordinator of Interpol’s DNA unit, said police are appealing for any information that could “help investigators connect the dots” concerning the unidentified women.
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