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Police: Body in royal estate murder probe is young woman

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 12:57 PM EST, Wed January 4, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Police say initial tests have not yielded a DNA profile to identify the woman
  • The remains are those of a young white woman aged 15 to 23, police say
  • The body has been at the site on the huge Sandringham estate for up to 4 months
  • The royal family traditionally spends Christmas at Sandringham House, a private residence

London (CNN) -- A body found on Queen Elizabeth II's estate in Sandringham is that of a young white woman aged 15 to 23, investigators working on a murder probe said Wednesday.

Police were alerted Sunday to the human remains, found by a member of the public near the village of Anmer, in the English county of Norfolk.

Investigators said initial analysis of the remains had not yielded a DNA profile, which they had hoped might identify the woman.

Further tests are being carried out, with the results expected Thursday, a police statement said. "Officers will also look at more traditional methods of identifying the victim, which may take longer," it added.

The body had been at the site between one and four months, the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team said. Further searches of the area will continue Thursday.

Anmer, which lies within the bounds of the 20,000-acre estate, is near the town of King's Lynn.

Investigators said Tuesday they would be looking at cold cases as part of the probe.

Sandringham House, at the heart of the rural estate, is where the royal family traditionally gathers to celebrate Christmas. It's been the private home of four generations of British monarchs since 1862, and is one of two private residences used by the queen. Part of the estate is a 600-acre country park open to the public.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman told CNN Tuesday Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip "are in residence at Sandringham from mid-December to the end of January.

"It is a private residence, we cannot confirm whether or not the queen has been informed or not," the spokesman said, referring to the murder investigation.

Prince Philip has been recuperating at Sandringham since he was released from the hospital just over a week ago after having a coronary stent implanted. He attended a service at the church on the estate Monday.

Sandringham House and its gardens are open to the public from April to November.

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