Belgium Cold Case: 31-Year Mystery Solved, British Woman Identified


The “woman with the flower tattoo” is Rita Roberts. She was identified following a call from the Belgian, Dutch and German police to help identify 22 women found dead.

Police have identified a woman murdered in Belgium 31 years ago, thanks to an international appeal launched by different police forces in Europe.

The appeal was launched in May by Belgian, Dutch and German police, working with Interpol, for the public’s help to identify 22 women believed to have been murdered.

One of these unsolved cases, known as “the woman with the floral tattoo”, dates back to June 1992. The body of a woman was found in a river in Antwerp, Belgium.

The victim was killed violently.

His most striking physical feature was a floral tattoo on his left forearm, depicting a black flower with green leaves and the inscription “R’Nick” underneath. For three decades, the victim remained anonymous.

How Rita Roberts was identified

Rita Roberts was 31 when she moved to Antwerp from Cardiff in February 1992.

The last time she communicated with her loved ones was by postcard in May 1992.

When Operation Tag Me was launched in the spring of this year, it attracted some 1,250 reports from the public.

A family member of Rita Roberts living in the United Kingdom recognized the tattoo on the news and notified Interpol and the Belgian authorities, through the operation’s website.

The family then traveled to Belgium to meet investigators, and formally identified their missing relative, using distinctive personal identifiers.

After the body was identified, a request was made to the Antwerp Family Court to have the victim’s death certificate amended to reflect her identity.

“The news was shocking and heartbreaking,” Rita’s family said in a statement.

“Our passionate, loving, free-spirited sister was cruelly taken from us. There are no words to express the heartbreak we felt then, and still feel today,” adds family.

“Rita was a beautiful person who loved to travel. She loved her family, especially her nieces and nephews, and always wanted to have a family of her own. She had the ability to light up a room, and wherever she went, she was there. life and soul of the party. We hope that wherever she is today, she is at peace.”

New search for Rita’s killer

Now that Rita Roberts’ identity is known, Belgian authorities are appealing to the public for any information they may have about her or the circumstances of her death.

“After 31 years, an unidentified murdered woman has her name restored and her family has closure. Cases like this highlight the vital need to connect police around the world, especially when it comes to missing persons”, says Interpol Secretary General, Jürgen Stock.

Operation “Tag Me” was the first time that Interpol made extracts from black notices public. These are used to search for information on unidentified bodies and to determine the circumstances of death.

Black notices may contain information about where the body was found, biometric data such as DNA, fingerprints and facial images, dental records, physical descriptions of the body or clothing, and any other element allowing the deceased person to be identified.

This article is originally published on


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