Massive DNA investigation launched in Dutch boy's 1998 murder

Nicky Verstappen, murdered at age 11 in Brunssum in August 1998
Nicky Verstappen, murdered at age 11 in Brunssum in August 1998Photo: Politie

The Public Prosecutor is launching a massive DNA kinship investigation in an ultimate effort to find out who murdered 11-year-old Nicky Verstappen from Heibloem in 1998, Prosecutor Roger Bos announced in a press conference in Maastricht on Tuesday. The magistrate gave permission for DNA samples to be taken from 15 thousand men, AD reports.

Nicky Verstappen was found murdered one day after he disappeared from a summer camp on Brunssummerheide in August 1998. His body was found over a kilometer from the camp. The perpetrator was never found.

Over the past years of investigation, the police uncovered a lot of information about Nicky's death, but nothing that led to a breakthrough. Which is why the authorities are launching this kinship investigation. In such an investigation, DNA is not only checked for an exact match, but also for a match that indicates a relative. In this way a perpetrator can be tracked down through a match with a cousin, sibling or parent, for example.

Eight years ago a DNA investigation was done among over 100 men from the area around where the boy lived and around the camp site. None of the men matched with the DNA sample found on Nicky's body. The Public Prosecutor then exhumed the grave of the camp leader, but his DNA didn't match either. 

The DNA kinship investigation will be launched in the fall and some 15 thousand men in the Limburg region will be called to participate. This will be the largest DNA kinship investigation ever in the Netherlands. In addition to the kinship investigation, the police will also ask men who were vacationing in the area of the Brunssumerheide in August 1998 to voluntarily give a DNA sample.

During the press conference, police chief Gery Veldhuis again called on the perpetrator to turn himself in. "It is never too late", he said, according to AD.