DNA investigation in Dutch boy's 1998 murder starts
The police and Public Prosecutor in Limburg are starting the first step in a large-scale DNA investigation into the murder of 11-year-old Nicky Verstappen in 1998. Around 1,500 men are invited to cooperate in this first step of the DNA investigation, AD reports.
For this investigation, the men will give a DNA sample on a voluntary basis. This first step involves men who appear in the cold case file on Nicky's murder and people known to visit the Brunssummerheide, where the boy was murdered. For privacy reasons, the police can not give any further information on the composition of this group. None of the men in this group are considered suspects. Participants are carefully approached, and their names will never be published, the police promise.
This first step is to exclude individuals as being involved in this investigation. The collected DNA will only be tested against DNA samples found at the crime scene where Nicky was murdered. If there is no match, the DNA sample will be destroyed.
The samples found at the crime scene were previously compared to the 270 thousand DNA profiles in the National DNA Database. There were no matches.
This preliminary phase will be followed by a large scale DNA kinship investigation, which will involve around 15 thousand people in the Limburg region. Such a kinship investigation involves testing a large group of people's DNA in the hopes of finding a match, if not with the perpetrator, then at least with one of his family members, brining the authorities one step closer to catching him. This second phase will start next year.
In May the Public Prosecutor called this DNA kinship investigation the "last real possibility to solve this case". The DNA kinship investigation was initially scheduled to start in the autumn of this year, but was postponed.
A DNA kinship investigation was previously done in the murder of Marianne Vaatstra. That investigation involved 8 thousand men and led to the arrest of Jasper S. in 2013, according to AD.