Jan. 23 (UPI) -- DNA testing debunked a theory that Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess was replaced with a doppelganger while in prison, scientists said Tuesday.
The theory proposed that the prisoner known as Spandau No. 7 who died in Spandau prison in Berlin was an imposter who took Hess' place after he was imprisoned for his role as deputy führer of the Third Reich during World War II.
Professor Jan Cemper-Kiesslich, of the University of Salzburg, and his colleagues concluded that there was almost no chance that a blood sample taken from Spandau No. 7 in 1982 doesn't belong to Hess after testing it against one of his distant male relatives.
"No match would have supported the impostor theory, but finally we got a match," Cemper-Kiesslich said.
The results showed there was a 99.99 percent chance that the blood sample came from a person related to the man they tested it against.
Hess was captured in 1941 after parachuting in to Scotland to broker peace with Britain and was tried at Nuremberg before being sent to Spandau, where he died in apparent suicide in 1987 as the jail's sole prisoner.
The longstanding conspiracy suggested Hess never made it to the prison and was instead replaced by another man who closely resembled him.
British Dr. Hugh Thomas who worked at Spandau was one of the drivers of the theory, as he said the prisoner didn't have the same scars Hess had.
The theory had believers as powerful as former U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt and prompted further investigation by the British government.
After finding the blood sample, researchers traced the Y-chromosomes in the two blood samples to determine the relation.
"Persons with an unbroken paternal line display the same set of DNA markers on the Y chromosome," Cemper-Kiesslich said.
"We are extremely sure that both samples [originate] from the same paternal line. The person the slide sample was taken from indeed was Rudolf Hess."