Survival expert, 55, hiding out in French mountains is named as prime suspect in 1998 murder of Dutch boy

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Survival expert, 55, hiding out in French mountains is named as prime suspect in 1998 murder of Dutch boy

Post  Max on Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:31 am

Survival expert, 55, hiding out in French mountains is named as prime suspect in 1998 murder of Dutch boy after a major DNA breakthrough in cold case once linked to Madeleine McCann

.Nicky Verstappen, 11, was found dead in forest in August 1998 after youth camp
.Police today announced they suspect survival expert Jos Bech, who lived nearby
.Bech is an ex-scout leader believed to be hiding in mountainous eastern France
.The cold case was linked to Madeleine McCann in 2011 over a shared suspect


PUBLISHED: 15:51, 22 August 2018 |

A survival expert hiding out in French mountains has been named as the prime suspect in the murder of a Dutch boy 20 years ago after a major DNA breakthrough.

Nicky Verstappen, 11, was found dead in a forest in August 1998, a day after he went missing from his tent at a youth camp in Limburg.

The cold case, once linked to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, has gripped the Netherlands ever since

Police today announced they suspect former scout leader Jos Bech, who lived nearby, of sexually assaulting and killing the youngster after they matched DNA from his abandoned cabin with DNA on Nicky's clothes.

Dutch and French police believe the 55-year-old - who was interviewed at the time of the crime as a witness but presumed innocent - is hiding somewhere in France's mountainous eastern Vosges region, where he owns a cabin.

His family reported him missing in April after the former scout worker, who is believed to be a survival expert, told them he was going for a walk in the mountains.

'We are convinced that the suspect has gone into hiding,' Limburg police chief Ingrid Schaefer-Poels told journalists, asking the public to contact police with any information of his whereabouts.

The case became linked to Madeleine McCann's disappearance in 2011 when Dutch police questioned a German child murderer, Martin Ney, over Nicky's death.

Private detectives working for Kate and Gerry McCann wanted to find out if he was in Portugal when their daughter disappeared after they noticed a resemblance between Ney and a photofit of a man seen acting suspiciously hours before Madeleine vanished in 2007.

McCann spokesman Clarence Mitchell said in May 2011: 'Our private investigators became aware of this man a month ago and they will be liaising with the German investigators.'

Scotland Yard even liaised with German authorities before interest in Ney was dropped on the belief that he only had sexual interest in boys.

Wednesday's announcement brings Verstappen's family one step closer to finding out what happened to Nicky the night he disappeared, in what became one of the most extensive murder investigations to date in the Netherlands.

'We now have a one-on-one DNA match with the traces found on Verstappen's body,' Detective Ferdinand Schellinkhout told a press conference in the southern city of Maastricht on Wednesday.

'We are looking for Jos Brech, 55. He was last seen in France.'

Police said new digital techniques helped them to develop a DNA profile in 2008, from traces found on Verstappen's clothing, but there had been no match.

Earlier this year, some 16,000 men living in the area where Verstappen was murdered volunteered to hand over DNA samples after a call by detectives.

Brech who was 35 at the time, was not among the volunteers but as he was previously interviewed as a witness, police became suspicious.

When his family reported him as missing, Dutch and French police searched his cabin in the Vosges region.

'We found traces of DNA on his personal belongings. It was a match,' said chief prosecutor Jan Eland.

A European-wide warrant for Brech's arrest was issued on June 12.

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Re: Survival expert, 55, hiding out in French mountains is named as prime suspect in 1998 murder of Dutch boy

Post  Pedro Silva on Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:49 pm

thank you Max.
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