Danish inventor denies killing journalist, admits dismembering her body

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An inmate serving a jail sentence rests his hand on a fence at Maricopa County's Tent City jail in Phoenix July 30, 2010.
An inmate serving a jail sentence rests his hand on a fence at Maricopa County's Tent City jail in Phoenix July 30, 2010. Reuters/Joshua Lott

Danish inventor Peter Madsen continues to deny "sexual acts other than intercourse" and killing Swedish journalist Kim Wall, according to police. But Madsen has already confessed to dismembering her body on his privately built submarine during an interrogation conducted earlier this month.

The 46-year-old has admitted that he dumped dismembered body parts in the Bay of Koege, which police divers have searched for weeks. They have been looking for the body's arms.

Madsen is now saying that the cause of Wall’s death was due to carbon monoxide poisoning while he was on deck, police said. Previously, he claimed in court that Wall accidentally hit her head on a hatch in the submarine and died.

When Wall's head was found, police said there were "no signs of fracture or blunt force trauma to the skull," NPR's Amy Held reports. Her head was in a bag weighted down with metal.

On August 21, a headless female torso washed ashore, according to police. She was identified as Wall two days later using DNA evidence. The body reportedly had 14 stab wounds around her genital area.

Chief investigator Jens Moeller Jensen said Madsen’s explanation causes authorities to want to get supplemental statements from the medical examiner and from the defense ministry's submarine experts. "This explanation (by Madsen) naturally will lead the police into gathering additional statements from the coroner and the armed forces' submarine experts," Jensen said, according to an Associated Press translation.

During a previous hearing, prosecutors presented evidence of a hard drive with photos of tortured and murdered women. These were said to have been found in Madsen's laboratory.

Wall's former classmates gathered at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York for a candlelight vigil and sang "Stand by Me.” The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China stated, "She was a talented freelance journalist, brimming with integrity, humanity and a deep interest in China and the wider region."

Most recently, Wall reported about the underground online culture in Cuba as well as the tourism industry in post-earthquake Haiti. Her family wrote a letter to Danish media to ask for the public's help as days passed without news of her.

The last time Wall was seen was in August, when she boarded Madsen's privately built submarine. She was there to interview him for an article. Wall had written for several publications such as The New York Times, Harper's Magazine and The Atlantic, according to The Two-Way.