Interpol Identifies British Woman Rita Roberts Murdered in Belgium After 30 Years

Rita Roberts was identified by her flower tattoo

After three decades, a British woman’s murder in Belgium has been solved, thanks to a distinctive tattoo and a groundbreaking police campaign. Rita Roberts, a 31-year-old from Cardiff, was identified as the victim of a murder that occurred in 1992 in Antwerp, Belgium. Her identification followed the launch of Interpol’s landmark campaign, Operation Identify Me, which aimed to identify 22 murdered women across Europe.

Roberts’ family recognized her unique tattoo – a black flower with green leaves and “R’Nick” written underneath – from a BBC news report, prompting them to contact Interpol. This led to their formal identification of her with Belgian investigators. The last contact Roberts had with her family was a postcard sent in May 1992, and her body was discovered the following month.

The campaign, launched earlier this year, marked the first time Interpol publicized a list of black notices, typically circulated internally among international police forces. The list featured details, photographs, facial reconstructions, and case information about the victims. Roberts, who traveled from Cardiff to Antwerp in February 1992, was violently killed and found lying against a grate in a river.

Stephen Kavanagh, head of police services at Interpol, expressed pride in the organization’s role in identifying Roberts, while also conveying sympathy for her family’s loss. Belgian authorities are now seeking public assistance to gather more information about the circumstances surrounding Roberts’ death.

Since the initiation of Operation Identify Me in May, police have received about 1,250 tips related to the 22 women, including potential names and leads about their clothing and jewelry. The campaign’s success in identifying Roberts has sparked hope for progress in the other cases.

The initiative was started by Dutch police, struggling to identify a woman found in a wheelie bin in Amsterdam in 1999. Other cases include a woman discovered wrapped in a carpet in Germany in 2002.

Interpol’s video appeal for more information about the unidentified women featured notable personalities urging the public not to forget these victims. The oldest case, dating back to 1976, involves a young woman found along a highway in the Netherlands.

Interpol, the international police liaison organization based in Lyon, France, facilitates cooperation between its 195 member countries.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

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