The identity of the British woman who was killed in Antwerp in 1992, known as the ‘Woman with the flower tattoo,’ has been uncovered.

Busy Bee
Busy Bee November 14, 2023
Updated 2023/11/14 at 10:50 PM

The discovery of a woman’s body 31 years ago in Antwerp has been identified as that of a British national, Rita Roberts, after police sought public assistance in identifying 22 women murdered in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany over the past 50 years.

The collaborative effort, known as Operation Identify Me, was initiated in May by Belgian, Dutch, and German police in conjunction with Interpol. Details of the cases, typically available only to law enforcement, were released to the public.

The case of “the woman with the flower tattoo,” referring to Roberts, dates back to June 3, 1992, when her body was found near a grate in the Groot Schijn River in Antwerp’s Deurne district.

Described as light-skinned, dark-haired, and aged between 20 and 50, she wore a dark blue, purple, and light green T-shirt with the inscription “Splinter” and “1990,” along with blue Adidas training trousers and dark brown walking shoes (size 40). Her distinctive feature was a tattoo on her left forearm—a black flower with green leaves and the inscription “R’Nick.”

Interpol announced on Tuesday that it was the tattoo that facilitated the identification of Roberts. A family member in Britain recognized the tattoo, reaching out to authorities via the Identify Me website. Roberts, who moved from Cardiff to Antwerp in February 1992 at the age of 31, last communicated with her family through a postcard in May of that year. Her family has since formally identified her in Belgium, leading to the amendment of her death certificate by the Antwerp family court.

In a statement, Roberts’s family expressed their shock and heartbreak, describing her as a passionate, loving, and free-spirited sister cruelly taken away. They emphasized the indescribable grief felt at the time of her death and continuing to the present day.

The family expressed the difficulty in coming to terms with the situation but expressed immense gratitude for uncovering what happened to Rita. They acknowledged the cross-border collaboration that revealed the missing girl’s identity, providing solace to the family and ensuring she is at rest.

Describing their relative as a beautiful person with a passion for travel, a love for family, especially nephews and nieces, and a desire for her own family, they highlighted her ability to light up any room and be the life of the party. The family expressed hope that she is now at peace.

Interpol’s Secretary General, Jürgen Stock, emphasized the crucial role of global police connectivity in cases involving missing persons. He noted that after 31 years, an unidentified murdered woman has been identified, bringing closure to her family. Stock described Operation Identify Me as significant and emphasized the importance of connecting police worldwide.

Belgian authorities have called on the public to provide any information on Roberts or the circumstances surrounding her death. Information can be submitted through a form on Interpol’s website.

The Identify Me website features facial reconstructions, videos, and pictures of recognizable items found at the crime scenes. This marks the first instance of making information from Interpol black notices public. These notices typically contain details about the crime scene, victim appearance, clothing, and other pertinent observations, usually restricted to law enforcement.

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