Outdoor World

New evidence prompts Europe-wide hunt for 1998 murder suspect

New DNA analysis relates 55 -year-old man to assassination of Dutch schoolboy Nicky Verstappen

eastern France

A Europe-wide manhunt is under way for the suspicious executioner of an 11 -year-old Dutch schoolboy on a campsite 20 years ago this month, after “the worlds largest” Dna experimenting program in the Netherlands’ history finally made a 100% match.

In the latest twist to a cold suit that has gripped the two countries since 1998, police in the south metropoli of Maastricht said on Thursday that more than 200 people had called in following an appeal for tips-off about the possible whereabouts of Jos Brech, 55, a former scout and playgroup worker.

” A plenty of people are calling ,” said police commissioner Ingrid Schafer-Poels on Thursday.” We are now persuaded the suppose has gone into hiding .”

Described as a survival specialist had been able to tolerating long periods alone in the wild, Brech was last known to be in the mountainous Vosges region of eastern France, where he has a cabin, and has been placed on Europol’s list of the continent’s most wanted fugitives.

The body of Nicky Verstappen, who had been sexually assaulted before he was killed, was found on 11 August 1998 in woodland a few kilometres from the youth camp in Limburg province, where he had been reported missing the previous day.

Despite an intensive and heavily publicised manhunt at the time , no apprehend was ever established. But in May last year, exploiting new DNA analysis techniques, police launched an appeal to more than 20,000 humankinds in the region to provide samples.

Nearly 15,000- although not Brech- came forward, but none of the tests matched the profile assembled in 2008 from DNA recovered from Nicky’s body at the time of his death, detective Ferdinand Schellinkhout told Dutch media.

Brech, who in 1998 lived with his mother 13 km( eight miles) from the campsite, was questioned three times during the inquiry- the first occasion only two days after the murder, when he was stopped by police while ambling near the panorama after midnight.

Nicky
The torso of Nicky Verstappen was found on 11 August 1998 in woodland a few kilometres from the youth camp in Limburg province, where he had been reported missing the previous day. Photo: Police Handout

He convinced researchers he was merely taking the late-night breath, and while his name was registered, “hes never” considered a suspect.” With the knowledge we have today, we clearly would have done things differently ,” Schafer-Poels conceded.

However, DNA provided by one of Brech’s relatives as part of the mass experimenting programs pennant him as a suppose, and he was formally recognized last-place month from tracings recovered from pyjamas he had left at his house which provided a perfect” one-on-one match”, “prosecutors ” Jan Eland said.

Brech, who was briefly supposed but then cleared in a separate sex offense example in 1985, left the Netherlands in October last year. In February he told their own families he was on an extended wilderness hiking trip in the Vosges, police said.

Relatives reported him missing in April, but an intense scour by both Dutch and French police since July has failed to find any trace.

A video released by the Dutch crimewatch TVshow Opsporing Verzocht describes Brech as an experienced woodsman and survivalist who routinely use natural hiding place, mountain huts and caves for shelter. He is also used to not connected to the outside world-wide for lengthy dates, police said.

” This is someone who often takes a long time to respond to emails, does not seek contact often and, because he has no mobile phone or social media accounts, is used to being unreachable for long periods ,” police said.

The case has regularly returned to the public eye over the past two decades, with police exhuming their own bodies of an 85 -year-old man in 2010 as part of their investigation.

Nicky’s tearful father, Berthie Verstappen, told a news conference of her aid that” after sought for 20 years, we finally have a epithet and a face “. She thanked a Dutch violation reporter, Peter De Vries, who often featured the instance in his Tv programme.

” Over all these times … the person who was most important to us is you ,” she said.” If it hadn’t been for you, the investigation wouldn’t have moved forward for 19 years .”

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ world/ 2018/ aug/ 23/ new-evidence-prompts-europe-wide-hunt-for-man-suspected-of-1 998

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