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Headless torso is that of reporter last seen on submarine, police say

Missing journalist

COPENHAGEN --  A headless female torso found in Copenhagen Harbor has been identified by Danish police as that of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, who police think was killed on a homemade submarine.

The female torso -- without legs, arms or a head -- was found by a passer-by, said the head of the investigation, Jens Moller Jensen.

Jensen told reporters Wednesday that the body was attached to a piece of metal, "likely with the purpose to make it sink." The body "washed ashore after having been at sea for a while," he said. He added police found marks on the torso indicating someone tried to press air out of the body so that it would fall to the bottom and wouldn't float. 

Dried blood was found inside the submarine that also matched Wall's DNA, he said.

"On Aug. 12, we secured a hair brush and a toothbrush to ensure her DNA. We also found blood in the submarine and there is a match," Moeller Jensen said.

The cause of the journalist's death is not yet known, police said. 

Wall, 30, went missing more than a week ago after a trip on the submarine owned by 46-year-old Peter Madsen, a Danish inventor.

Denmark Submarine
A Dec. 28, 2015 handout photo portrait of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, taken in Trelleborg, Sweden. AP

Madsen, who remains detained in police custody, initially told police that she disembarked from the submarine to a Copenhagen island several hours into their trip and that he did not know what happened to her afterward, but later told authorities "an accident occurred onboard that led to her death" and he "buried" her at sea. 

Madsen was arrested after his submarine sank off Denmark's eastern coast, an event police said they suspected the inventor caused on purpose. 

Madsen was known for financing his submarine project through crowdfunding. The first launch of his 40-ton, nearly 60-foot-long UC3 Nautilus in 2008 made international headlines.

The Submarine UC3 Nautilus is lifted onto a block truck from the salvage ship Vina with the help of a container crane in Copenhagen's Harbor, on August 12, 2017. Getty

Wall's family earlier told The Associated Press that she had worked in many dangerous places as a journalist and it was unimaginable "something could happen ... just a few miles from the childhood home."

The International Women's Media Foundation said it was "deeply saddened" to receive confirmation that Wall had died.

"She was dogged in her pursuit of important and sometimes quirky stories. She was adored by those who knew her," the organization said in a statement.

Wall was last seen atop the Nautilus submarine on Aug. 10, about to embark on a brief ride in the vessel for a profile about its Danish inventor.

Before his arrest, Madsen appeared on Danish television to discuss the submarine's sinking and his rescue.

The journalist's boyfriend alerted authorities that the sub had not returned from a test run, police said.

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