As It Happens

'I admired her,' says friend of journalist Kim Wall, whose remains were ID'd in Copenhagen

Kim Wall, whose torso was found on a beach in Copenhagen, is being remembered as a passionate journalist who travelled the world in search of 'human stories.'
Swedish journalist Kim Wall is being remembered as a thoughtful journalist and a good friend. (Peter Thomson/AFP/Getty Images)

Story transcript

Kim Wall is being remembered as a passionate journalist, a world traveller, a quirky fashionista and a good friend.

"It's hard to put it into a few words, but she is one of the most talented journalists that I have ever met and worked with," Coleen Jose, Wall's friend and sometimes collaborator, told As It Happens guest host Jim Brown.

"As a friend, I admired her critical thinking about the world. She told human stories [about] incredibly complex issues that span generations."

Wall travelled the world in search of 'human stories' and had a 'knack for the quirky,' her friend and former classmate said. (Coleen Jose)

Wall, 30, was last seen alive on Aug. 10 on Danish inventor Peter Madsen's submarine, which police believe he intentionally sank off Denmark's eastern coast the following day.

She had been writing a profile on Madsen, who designed and built the submarine himself. He was rescued from the waters after it sank.

Wall's headless torso was found Monday on a beach off Copenhagen, attached to a piece of metal "likely with the purpose to make it sink," Copenhagen police investigator Jens Moeller Jensen told reporters. Her blood was also found on the submarine's walls.

Police technicians investigate the rescued private submarine UC3 Nautilus"— on which police believe Kim Wall was killed — in Copenhagen Harbour. (Jens Noergaard Larsen/Scanpix Denmark/Reuters)

Madsen, 46, is in police custody on preliminary manslaughter charges. He initially told investigators that she disembarked from the submarine to a northern Copenhagen island several hours into their trip and that he didn't know what happened to her afterward. He later told authorities "an accident occurred onboard that led to her death" and he "buried" her at sea.​

"We're trying to focus on her life and legacy now beyond the details that have so many unanswered questions," Jose said.

Peter Madsen, builder and captain of the private submarine UC3 Nautilus, has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in the death of journalist Kim Wall. (Bax Lindhardt/AFP/Getty Images)

Jose went to journalism school with Wall at Columbia University in New York.

She and other members of the Class of 2013 have started a private Facebook group to discuss details of the investigation and share memories about Wall's life and prolific career.

"Kim travelled the world incessantly as a foreign correspondent for major news publications and it's a collection of that work as well as the moments that we shared with her, including her singing karaoke or the two of us on a nuclear waste site reporting on an atoll in the Marshall Islands," Jose said.

An aerial photo of Colleen Jose (right) and Kim Wall (middle) atop Runit Dome, the nuclear waste site on the Marshall Islands. (Coleen Jose)

The pair spent six weeks together on the Pacific Ocean island country where the U.S. conducted nuclear testing during the Cold War.

"It was challenging, but we were there to tell the story of this island nation that's suffering from climate change effects and the U.S. nuclear legacy on the island," she said. "There are a lot of memories, for sure."

It was one of many locations around the world that Wall visited in the name of journalism. She reported from Uganda, China, India, Sri Lanka, Haiti and even North Korea. 

Her work appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the South China Morning Post and Vice Magazine, among other publications.

"She was just doing her job and unfortunately [she died] so close to home, whereas she has travered the globe and travelled to the most remote places that most people in their lives would have never arrived in," Jose said.

As well as being a talented reporter, Jose said Wall was a good friend and a fun person.

"For her parties in Brooklyn she would project images of palm trees and tropical creatures. She has a knack for the quirky things in life and stories," she said.

"She had the best knit sweaters from Sweden and elswhere in the world. Amazing style and always wore her hair in a top-knot messy bun before it was a thing or it was cool. She was hilarious."​

Kim Wall was 'hilarious' and had 'amazing style,' her friend told As It Happens. (Kim Wall/Facebook )

With files from Associated Press

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