Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) — The human remains discovered New Year’s Day on the grounds of the London estate where Queen Elizabeth and the royal family are spending the holidays have likely been there for one to four months and are not the result of natural death or accidental injury, British police said Tuesday.
The discovery is being treated as a murder investigation, officials confirmed.
The human remains were discovered Sunday by a dog-walker in a woodland area at Anmer, a tiny village northeast of London that is part of the Sandringham Estate property used by the British family as a vacation retreat.
The body is that of a young adult female, detectives with the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team said Tuesday after conducting a post-mortem examination on the remains.
Without giving further specifics, officials involved in the examination said it is “highly unlikely” the death was a result of natural causes. Detectives also found no evidence of accidental injury, damage because of firearms or bladed weapon at the site.
Detectives said results from DNA samples taken from the body should be available within the next 24 hours, and they hope to provide more details on the cold case. Police also plan to resume their search of the area where the body was discovered Wednesday.
The human remains were found near the Royal Stud, where the queen oversees the breeding and training of race horses, and less than three miles from the queen’s main residence on the estate, Sandringham House.
Sandringham House has served as a private residence for British monarchs since 1862 and is a favorite of the royal family’s as a holiday retreat. The royals, including Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate Middleton, had gathered there with the queen and Prince Philip to celebrate Christmas this year.
The queen and Prince Philip had joined other royals in attending the traditional New Year’s Day service at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene on the estate hours before the discovery was made.
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