Body found on Queen’s Sandringham Estate is of woman aged as young as 15
Published 05/01/2012 | 07:50
A BODY found in woodland on the Queen's Sandringham estate is that of a young woman aged between 15 and 23, police said on Wednesday.
Fears are mounting that the body is that of Alisa Dmitrijeva, a 17-year-old Latvian who disappeared from nearby King's Lynn in September.
Norfolk police, who have visited the brown-haired teenager’s family in Wisbech, Cambs, failed to identify the body from DNA tests on Wednesday.
But detectives, who have launched a murder inquiry, have not ruled out links to the disappearances of Alisa or of Vitalija Baliutaviciene, 29, from Peterborough, who both vanished last August.
A dog walker found the body at 4pm on New Year’s Day near Anmer, Norfolk, just a mile from The Royal Studs and less than two miles from the estate’s main residence, where the Royal Family have been spending their Christmas break.
It was discovered in a 30ft wide copse between two crop fields. Royal shooting parties are thought to have used the area over the Christmas break.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were informed of the find on Monday night. The Queen is still in residence and it is believed she has been briefed by police about the investigation.
On Wednesday a Norfolk Police spokesman said tests had shown the body was that of a white woman aged as young as 15.
Pathologist reports have indicated the woman was murdered due to a lack of evidence of accidental injury. It is not known if the woman was killed at the scene or if her body was dumped there.
"Results from samples which were taken during the post mortem (on Tuesday) have not provided a DNA profile, and therefore the identity of the victim has not been established," he said.
"Further testing is being carried out, which will take an additional 24 hours before results are available. Officers will also look at more traditional methods of identifying the victim, which may take longer.
"The body is described as a young, white, adult female, aged between 15 and 23 years old, which has been at that site for a period estimated to be between a month and up to four months."
Alisa is believed to have been last seen in car at 12.15am on August 31 in Friars Street, King’s Lynn, which is about ten miles from Sandringham.
The college student, who is 5ft 6 inches tall, was reported missing by her family on September 6.
She lived with her father Olegs Dmitrijeva, her young sister Victoria, ten, and grandmother Lidija Nesterova, 62, in a rented semi-detached house.
Alisa was due to enrol on a new course at the College of West Anglia the day after she disappeared, but she never arrived.
At the time of her disappearance she had collar length dark brown hair and blonde highlights which might have turned darker
On Wednesday Mrs Nesterova confirmed that she had been visited by police and told that the body of an identified young woman had been found at Sandriingham. They could not confirm it was her at that stage.
Speaking with the help of a relative, she fought back tears as she said she had not given up hope she had not been found dead.
A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “Alisa seemed like a nice girl. I last saw her in August just before she disappeared.
“Her grandmother had lived in the house with three other ladies for about three years, but they gradually drifted apart and only Lidija was left.
“Then Lidija’s son and the two girls moved in. I think he was working at a factory. I only knew them to say ‘good morning’ to them."
They added: “Once she was at home playing some ‘thump thump music’ which was disturbing my wife who was poorly. I went round to ask her to turn it down.
“To be fair to her, she said ‘Sorry’ and turned it down which was nice of her. After she went missing, I had the police round asking questions about her.”
Another neighbour Ricardo Moreira, 32, orginally from Portugal, added: “The police came round three times asking about her when she disappeared. I couldn’t help because I did not know her.
“The Latvian community tend not to mix with other people in Wisbech. They just socialise in their own groups.”
Cambridgeshire police launched an appeal to find Alisa after she was reported missing amid ‘increasing concerns for her welfare’
Detectives said Alisa also had links in Lincolnshire and Peterborough and it was not unusual for her to stay away from home for several days, but she had always previously stayed in touch with her family.
A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said Alisa was last reported to have been seen on August 31 in P-registered green Lexus GS800 car.
Alisa had been due to enrol for a new course on September 1 at the College of West Anglia which has 4,000 students in campuses in King’s Lynn, Wisbech and Milton, Cambs.
College spokesman Paul O’Shea said: “There was some indication that she was going to enrol on a course, but she didn’t some to the college on that day.”
Earlier on Wednesday Det Ch Insp Jes Fry, who is leading the inquiry, did not rule out links to the disappearances of Alisa or Vitalija Baliutaviciene, 29, from Peterborough, who both vanished last August.
Norfolk Police said both cases were "lines of inquiry" being pursued.
Mr Fry said: "We will be focusing on all local missing persons and then spread our catchment area depending on how our investigation goes.
"Part of the post-mortem will try to establish the identification through fingerprints or DNA which may help us identify who the victim is more quickly.
"Hopefully in the next day or so we will have a good idea who we are dealing with and that may open fresh lines of inquiry."
Officers have been using social media in an effort to track down Alisa and have created a Facebook advert targeted at people living in Wisbech, Norfolk and Lincolnshire.
The advertisement has been created in English, Latvian and Lithuanian. A £5,000 reward has been offered for information leading to officers tracing her.
The village of Anmer has just 29 homes and 63 residents, many of them workers on the Royal estate.
Buckingham Palace have declined to comment, saying it was a matter for police. The Queen spent Christmas at Sandringham while the Duke of Edinburgh spent four days in Papworth hospital in Cambridgeshire.