Body of missing teen Savannah Dekker found in ditch; Parents told to be extra cautious
The body of missing 14-year-old Savannah Dekker was found on industrial terrain De Kronkels in her hometown of Bunschoten on Sunday. The missing teen's body was found some 15 kilometers away from where another 14-year-old girl, Romy Nieuwburg, was found killed in a watery ditch in Achterveld, Utrecht on Friday. The police are investigating whether the deaths of these two girls are linked. The mayor of Bunschoten released a video statement calling on parents and young people to be extra vigilant.
Savannah's body was found by a passerby in the water near De Kronkels around 11:40 a.m. on Sunday, according to the police. The person who found the body was not part of the search party, who was actively searching in another part of town at the time.
The police immediately launched an investigation at the scene. It took about 12 hours for investigators to confirm the victim's identity. According to the police, this was because the investigators had to approach the body very slowly and carefully. "Care is important to avoid missing or unintentionally destroying any trace evidence", the police said in a statement. Once the body was identified, officers personally informed Savannah's family, after which the news was made public.
So far the police can't say anything about how Savannah died.
Bunschoten mayor Melis van de Groep visited Savannah's family after they received the terrible news. "When I just talked to the parents, sister and grandparents, it appeared to me that the ground has literally been wiped out from under their existence." he said in a video message around midnight on Sunday. "On behalf of the community, I can say that we have intense empathy with the great sorrow that hit her parents, her sister, her classmates. We also empathize with the parents and family of Romy Nieuwburg from Hoevelaken, who received similar shocking news [Saturday]. I wish wisdom to the police and judiciary employees doing everything possible to investigate and solve these horrific events as quickly as possible."
"In the mean time, worried parents and grandparents ask: how do we continue? And young people ay wonder: can we still feel safe on the street. I understand those concerns and as a grandfather feel them too." Van de Groep continued, adding that his colleagues from surrounding municipalities are also worried. "We ask and advise you, as parents and others caring for children, to be extra alert. Where do your kids go and with whom do they have contact? And young people, try to stay together as much as possible and don't go to deserted places alone. And call the police in suspicious situations."