Danish police investigating the murder of the Swedish journalist Kim Wall have found body parts, including her severed head.
The freelance journalist was last seen alive on 10 August when she went to interview the inventor Peter Madsen, who has been charged with her murder. Wall’s dismembered torso washed ashore 12 days after she boarded Madsen’s homemade submarine for the interview.
The police investigator Jens Møller Jensen said divers had found Wall’s head and legs, as well as her clothes and a knife, in plastic bags with “heavy metal pieces” to make them sink.
“Yesterday morning we found a bag within which we found Kim Wall’s clothes, underwear, stockings and shoes. In the same bag laid a knife, and there were some car pipes to weigh the bag down,” he said on Saturday.
A postmortem examination confirmed that the head was Wall’s and that it showed “no sign of fracture” or “any sign of other blunt violence to the skull”, he said.
The body parts were found on Friday near where her naked torso was found on 22 August, near the coast of Copenhagen. Wall’s arms are still missing. The cause of death has yet to be established.
Madsen, 46, maintains that Wall died after being accidentally hit on the head by a heavy hatch in the submarine, but a Copenhagen court heard there were 15 stab wounds on her body.
A fund set up in memory of the award-winning journalist has raised more than $90,000 (£69,000) of its $100,000 target since being launched by her friends and family. It would be used to provide grants to female reporters to pursue subculture stories, according to the Remembering Kim Wall website.
Wall, who had written for the Guardian and the New York Times, was reported missing by her boyfriend in the early hours of 11 August when she failed to return from her interview.
When the submarine was found, Madsen was rescued just before the vessel sank, and later arrested.
He initially claimed he had dropped her off safely in Copenhagen but later said there had been a “terrible accident” and he had buried her at sea, insisting her body was intact at the time.
A court has heard that footage of women being strangled and decapitated was found on a hard drive believed to belong to the inventor.
His lawyer, Betina Hald Engmark, told Reuters she had been informed that further body parts and clothes had been found, but declined to comment further.
Police in Denmark have identified a headless torso found in the Copenhagen waterside as that of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, who police believe was killed on board a Danish inventor’s homemade submarine.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday morning, Copenhagen police’s vice-president, Jens Møller, said metal weights had been attached to the body to prevent it from floating to the surface.
“The body bears the mark of having, most likely, been inflicted deliberate damage with the purpose of ensuring that gasses can pass out of the body – possibly in an attempt to avoid that a body rises from the seabed,” Møller said.
He also said DNA taken from a hairbrush and toothbrush belonging to 30-year-old Wall had matched that of blood found on the submarine.
Peter Madsen, a Danish inventor about whom Wall is believed to have been writing a feature article, was charged with manslaughter last week. He told a court hearing this week that Wall died in an accident on his vessel and that he “buried” her at sea.
This marked a change from a previous statement in which he claimed to have dropped off Wall alive on the tip of an island off Copenhagen late on 10 August before the vessel sank. Madsen denies manslaughter.
Wall’s mother, Ingrid, posted on Facebook on Wednesday: “We cannot see the end of the disaster yet, and a lot of questions are still to be answered.
“The tragedy has hit not only us and other families, but friends and colleagues all over the world. During the horrendous days since Kim disappeared, we have received countless evidence of how loved and appreciated she has been, as a human and friend as well as a professional journalist. From all corners of the world comes evidence of Kim’s ability to be a person who makes a difference.”
Originally from Sweden, Wall had degrees from Columbia University and the London School of Economics, and had written for publications including the New York Times, Foreign Policy, Time and the Guardian.
Danish authorities had been searching for the reporter since she failed to return from an interview with Madsen on board the Nautilus. She was last seen on the vessel by several people in waters off Copenhagen on the evening of 10 August. Her boyfriend reported her missing in the early hours the next day.
The submarine was later also reported missing, and rescue crews located it shortly after 10am on 11 August in Køge Bay, south of the Danish capital. At about 11am, Madsen jumped into the water after the submarine started to sink. He told personnel on the boat that rescued him that there had been a problem with the ballast tank and something had gone wrong when he tried to repair it.
Police refloated the Nautilus and towed it into harbour for investigation, later suggesting that Madsen may have sunk the boat on purpose to hide evidence.
Madsen appeared before a judge on 12 August for preliminary questioning. The case is not open to the public to protect further investigations, police said.
On Wednesday Madsen’s lawyer said her client still maintains that Wall died accidentally, and that the discovery of the journalist’s torso did not mean he was guilty of killing her.
“It doesn’t change my client’s explanation that an accident happened,” Betina Hald Engmark told Danish tabloid BT. “No matter what, we find it very positive that she has been found now.”
An entrepreneur, artist, submarine builder and aerospace engineer, Madsen, 46, nicknamed Rocket, has enjoyed a cult status in his native Denmark. For years, a team built around him and the aerospace engineer Kristian von Bengtson have worked on designing a rocket-driven spacecraft.
The Nautilus, which was Madsen’s third design for a “midget submarine” vessel and became the largest privately built submarine when it was unveiled in 2008, has been his most spectacular invention to date.
Measuring almost 18 metres and weighing 40 tonnes, it can be operated by one person from its control room. Madsen was known to regularly take fans and submarine enthusiasts on tours through the Øresund strait. Able to submerge in approximately 20 seconds, the boat can carry up to eight people to 100 metres below sea level.
On Tuesday a support group set up in his honour distanced itself from the inventor. “The dream is burst. In view of the latest information released by the Copenhagen police today, there is regrettably no way for us to continue as part of the Raket-Madsen Support Group,” the group’s president announced on its website.
Danish police said that in light of the findings they would look afresh into unsolved cases such as the murder of a Japanese tourist in 1986. Body parts of 22-year-old Kazuko Toyonaga were found in plastic bags at separate locations in the waters outside Copenhagen almost a month after the student disappeared on her travels through Scandinavia.
“It would be sad to let this tragedy define what Kim’s life was,” Reed said. “She should be remembered for her insatiable curiosity, and her drive to find stories which no other journalist had touched before.
“She was deeply interested in the lives of outliers, people who lived their lives in their own terms. Her passion for her subjects was infectious, and as such she was an absolute pleasure to work with. She was a true professional.”
A Danish inventor being held over the death of the Swedish reporter Kim Wall, whose headless torso was found on the Copenhagen waterside, has denied killing her and mutilating her body, police have said.
“The suspect denies murder and desecration of a human body,” Copenhagen police said in a statement on Friday, referring to Peter Madsen.
Madsen, 46, who has been held in formal custody since 12 August on suspicion of “negligent manslaughter”, says Wall died in an accident on board a submarine he had built. He claims he subsequently dumped the 30-year-old’s body in the sea south of Copenhagen.
Investigators say Wall’s body was “deliberately” mutilated and weighed down with a metal object to try to prevent its detection.
Wall was last seen on board Madsen’s 18-metre (60ft) submarine, Nautilus, on 10 August when she went to interview him. Investigators found traces of her blood inside the vessel. Danish prosecutors are seeking to charge Madsen with murder and have until 5 September to request an extension of his custody.
Madsen, who describes himself as an “inventepreneur” on his website, is to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
That same day, Madsen was rescued from waters between Denmark and Sweden shortly before his submarine sank. Investigators recovered and searched the vessel, which police believe Madsen sank on purpose.
The Nautilus was the biggest private submarine ever made when Madsen and some volunteers built it in 2008. The volunteers were engaged in a dispute over the Nautilus between 2014 and 2015, before members of the board decided to transfer the vessel’s ownership to Madsen, according to the Nautilus website.
In 2015, Madsen had sent a text message to two members of the board saying “there is a curse on Nautilus”.
“That curse is me. There will never be peace on Nautilus as long as I exist,” Madsen wrote, according to a post written by the volunteers in Danish on the website.
Danish police are still searching for the clothes Wall was wearing on the submarine: an orange fleece, a skirt and white sneakers. According to her former classmate and close friend Yan Cong, the sneakers had sentimental value.
“We sent each other photos of us wearing the sneakers during reporting trips from different parts of the world,” Cong said. “I believe she was wearing them when she went missing.”
Wall was a graduate of Columbia University graduate school of journalism in New York. She had planned to move to Beijing to pursue her career, Cong said.