News

20 year manhunt

Nicky Verstappen was 11 years old when he attended a summer camp in southern Netherlands in 1998. One night he disappeared. His body was found the next day, hidden in a dense pine forest about a mile away. He had been raped and killed.

The police took DNA samples from the boy’s clothes but no matches were found on databases or men linked to Nicky or the camp he stayed at.

But in 2012 Dutch law has permitted DNA family-related testing. This “kinship research” gave the prosecutors an opening. They ordered the voluntary sampling of up to 21,500 Dutchmen based on familial profiling, and the obligatory sampling of 1,500 men of special interest to the case, the biggest DNA investigation in the Netherlands so far.

Jos Brech, now 55, a former scout, an outdoorsmen and a children’s camp organiser, and who was also cited in a sexual offence case in 1985, is being extradited from where he was hiding out in a small remote village in Spain, and brought back to the Netherlands to face justice.