UK: Royal murder mystery after body found on Queen's private Sandringham estate


Police guard the entrance to woods next the Queen's Sandringham Estate where human remains were found, Jan. 3, 2012.


Christopher Furlong

LONDON, United Kingdom — British police are investigating a suspected murder after the body of a woman was found on Queen Elizabeth II's private country estate, Sandringham, in the east of England.

Officers said they were examining cold cases from across the UK, indicating that the victim may have been killed elsewhere and some time ago.

More from GlobalPost: Prince Philip leaves hospital after heart treatment

Police do not yet know the identity of the woman and have refused to comment on her age, injuries or the state of the body since the investigation is still in its "very early stages," according to the BBC.

The remains were discovered on Sunday, by a member of the public who was walking a dog in woodland between the Sandringham estate and nearby Anmer village. They had been there "for some time," according to Detective Chief Inspector Jes Fry of the Norfolk police force.

The body has since been taken to a local hospital for post mortem, which Fry said would provide the key to identifying the victim:

"There will be things established during the post mortem which will help lead to the identification of the victim [...]. 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."

For the moment, officers are studying missing-person reports and unsolved murders both locally and nationwide, Fry said. Police have not ruled out that the body could be that of a local teenager, Alisa Dmitrijeva, who disappeared from a nearby town on Aug. 31, according to the Cambridgeshire Times.

The area where the corpse was found has also been cordoned off. Forensic pathologists, an anthropologist and an entomologist – insect expert – are scouring the scene for possible evidence, Lynn News reported.

According to the Norwich Evening News, the site is about a mile from Sandringham House, where the Royal family spent Christmas and where the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, are still in residence. The Queen has reportedly been informed, though Buckingham Palace refused to comment.

More from GlobalPost: Kate Middleton celebrates Christmas with the Royal family