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CRIME

Murder victim identified in Austria after 23 years

A body of a murdered woman found in Austria 23 years ago has finally been identified after the case was re-examined last year using new forensic technology.

Murder victim identified in Austria after 23 years
“Rosi” was a sex worker who worked in Burgenland and Upper Austria. Photo: Polizei

The woman, whose body was discovered on a horse paddock near the city of Eisenstadt in 1993, is thought to be a sex worker born in 1962 originally from the Dominican Republic.

She used the name “Rosi”, although investigators do not know her real name, and worked in several brothels in Burgenland and Upper Austria.

Criminal investigators have now released her image in the hope that new evidence and witnesses will come forward.

Rosi was found early one morning just outside the town of St. Margarethen having been wrapped up in black wrapping material, having been strangled to death.

Her body had also been bitten several times by animals, her thigh bone had been sawn through and her upper arm had been broken.

Police had been unable to identify her at the time and her murder became a cold case until last year when new forensic evidence emerged and new examinations were carried out using modern technology.

“These investigations produced evidence that led to the identification of the victim,” said Johann Fuchs from Eisenstadt state prosecutors.

“Who knows this woman and can offer information about her whereabouts and contact person in Austria, particularly in the years 1991 to 1993?,” prosecutors ask.

Violence against sex workers

Several studies have shown that female sex workers often face more violence towards them at work than women in other employment.

In 2004 in the United States, the murder rate for female sex workers was 204 per 100,000 compared to 4 per 100,000 for the next most dangerous profession, female liquor store workers.

Famously, Austrian serial killer Jack Unterweger was convicted for murdering 11 sex workers between 1990 and 1992 in Austria and abroad.

The case was extremely controversial as Unterweger had already been sentenced to 14 years for murdering a woman in 1974 and had been released as a rehabilitation ‘success’ story in 1990.

He became a celebrity in Austria following his release although it is now known he continued killing women throughout this time. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1994, although he committed suicide in his cell shortly after receiving his sentence.

CRIME

Austria probes claim spyware targeted law firms and banks

Austria said Friday that it was investigating a report that an Austrian company developed spyware targeting law firms, banks and consultancies in at least three countries.

Austria probes claim spyware targeted law firms and banks

Microsoft’s security team earlier this week said it found that a malware called Subzero — developed by Vienna-based company DSIRF — was deployed in 2021 and 2022.

“Observed victims to date include law firms, banks and strategic consultancies in countries such as Austria, the United Kingdom and Panama,” it wrote in a blog entry on Wednesday.

Austria’s interior ministry said it had not received reports of any incidents.

READ ALSO: Austria wary of cyber attacks after personal data of foreign residents leaked online

“Of course, (intelligence agency) DSN checks the allegations. So far, there is no proof of the use of spy software from the company mentioned,” it said in a statement.

Austria’s Kurier newspaper cited DSIRF as saying that Subzero had not been misused and “was developed exclusively for use by authorities in EU states” and was not commercially available.

DSIRF did not immediately return a request for comment from AFP.

Austria’s interior ministry said it knew of the company but “has not had any business relationships” with it.

Last year several media outlets reported that governments around the world, including in the EU, had used Pegasus spyware made by Israel’s NSO Group to spy on opponents.

Budapest and Warsaw responded that the use of Pegasus was for legitimate national security reasons.

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