Rita Roberts was identified through ‘Operation Identify Me’, a collaborative effort led by Belgian, Dutch, and German police in partnership with Interpol

The portrait of Rita Roberts, a British woman found murdered 31 years ago in a river in Belgium. — Interpol

After three decades of anonymity, the woman known as ‘the woman with the flower tattoo,’ a murder victim, has been identified as Rita Roberts.

Operation Identify Me, a collaborative effort led by Belgian, Dutch, and German police in partnership with Interpol, played a pivotal role in this breakthrough.

Rita Roberts, brutally killed in 1992, was distinguished by a unique black flower tattoo on her left forearm. The breakthrough came when a family member recognised the tattoo through a public appeal, leading to a formal identification and a poignant revelation about Rita’s life.

In a statement published by Interpol on November 14, Rita Roberts’ family expressed their shock and heartbreak, describing her as a passionate, loving, and free-spirited sister.

While grappling with the difficult news, the family expressed gratitude for the support of Belgium Missing Persons, Antwerp Police, Interpol, and Durham Police in the UK.

The cold case, known as ‘the woman with the flower tattoo,’ dates back to June 3, 1992, when the woman’s body was discovered in the river ‘Groot Schijn’ near Antwerp, Belgium. 

For 31 years, the victim remained nameless, prompting Belgian authorities to submit the case to Operation Identify Me, hoping the distinctive tattoo would trigger someone’s memory.

Rita Roberts, 31, had moved to Antwerp from Cardiff in February 1992. She was identified through a family member in the United Kingdom who recognised the tattoo on the news and alerted Interpol and Belgian authorities. 

The family formally identified Rita by distinguishing personal identifiers, leading to the amendment of the victim’s death certificate to reflect her identity.

Describing Rita as a beautiful person who adored travelling, her family shared that she loved her family, especially her nephews and nieces, and always aspired to have a family. 

Rita’s identification brings closure to a long-standing mystery, and Belgian authorities are now seeking any information from the public about Rita Roberts or the circumstances surrounding her death.

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