Suspect in Dutch boy's 1998 death charged with manslaughter, not murder: report

JoS B. - suspect in Nicky Verstappen's murder
JoS B. - suspect in Nicky Verstappen's murder. (Photo: Politie)

The charges against Jos B., the man suspected of involvement in the death of Nicky Verstappen in 1998, was lessened by the court in Limburg. B. is no longer facing a murder charge, but manslaughter, sources confirmed to De Limburger.

According to the newspaper, there is insufficient evidence in the case that B. killed the 11-year-old boy with premeditation. The court therefore lessened the charge to manslaughter. The maximum prison sentence for murder is life, the maximum sentence for manslaughter is 15 years.

Crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, who has been supporting the Verstappen family for years, confirmed De Limburger's report to NOS. He said the news did not come as a surprise. "It was clear from the outset that murder can not be proved. You actually see that in all cold cases. Manslaughter is the most feasible, unless the suspect confesses to murder himself. The family knows and understands this."

The Public Prosecutor did not want to comment on the case to De Limburger, but did say that the charges against B. may be increased to murder at a later stage. B.'s lawyer Gerald Roethof will not comment on the case until the pro-forma hearing on December 12th. 

Nicky Verstappen was found dead in Brunssummerheide, near the summer camp he attended, 20 years ago. Traces of B.'s DNA was found on Nicky's clothes in 1998, but the police only linked it to the 55-year-old man this year after a large-scale DNA kinship investigation. B. was arrested by the Spanish police in a village near Barcelona on August 26th. 

B. is also suspected of abducting and sexually assaulting Nicky. Last month the Public Prosecutor also added child pornography charges against the man.