The Daring DNA Hunt That Cracked France’s Gruesome Cold Case
Thanks to American science and a determined French cop, a young woman whose burned corpse was found by a farmer 15 years ago may get justice.
DENVER—On a cold Saturday morning in January 2002, a farm worker in northern France unloading dirty stable hay into a field noticed a tree stump that looked out of place. As he got closer, he realized that what he thought was a log was actually a woman’s partially burned body.
Though violent crime in France’s sleepy Somme region is almost unheard of, the farmer’s horrific discovery was no surprise for local law enforcement: They had been looking for 24-year-old Elodie Kulik for two days.
Just after midnight that Thursday, police had found her red Peugeot abandoned less than a mile from the field where she was found, along a rural highway. The passenger door was open. There were no fingerprints on the door handles, no fibers on the seats, and no tracks to follow; but in the farmer’s field, Elodie’s murderer left a used condom and a cigarette butt. DNA from those items would speak for the victim years later.