Students shocked classmate is suspected in three homicides

Police in nature reserve Brunssummerheide where a man and woman were stabbed to death while walking their dogs, 7 May 2019
Police in nature reserve Brunssummerheide where a man and woman were stabbed to death while walking their dogs, 7 May 2019. (Photo: Politie Limburg/Twitter)

Former students of Leiden University are shocked by the news that their classmate Thijs H. is now suspected of three murders. The two former students, who studied in the same faculty as H. in the 2014/2015 academic year, knew him as soft-natured and friendly, if somewhat of a wallflower, Omroep West reports.

The 27-year-old man from The Hague was arrested on Wednesday evening in South Limburg, after a national search was launched for him a few hours earlier. H. is suspected of stabbing three people to death.

The first victim, a 56-year-old Japanese woman, was found dead on Galgenpad in the Scheveningen woods on Saturday. She left her home on Nicolaistraat in The Hague to go walk her dogs on Saturday afternoon. Passersby found her body an hour later, with her cargo bike and disabled dog. Her other dog was found a time later.

A 68-year-old man and a 63-year-old woman were found killed in nature reserve Brunssummerheide near Heerlen on Tuesday. A passerby found the woman's body first and called the police. The man's body was found about a hundred meters away. Like the Hague victim, these two victims were also with their dogs. 

According to Omroep West's media partner Unity.nu, H. studied cultural anthropology at the University of Leiden in 2014/2015, before going on to study in Delft. Two former Leiden students who studied at the same faculty as H., responded in disbelief to his arrest. "Unbelievable. It is strange that someone who you almost shared an office with for a year is a murder suspect", one student said. 

According to the two former students, H. was soft-natured and gentle. "He was a really friendly person during drinks and socializing. A bit of a wallflower", one said. "He seemed very normal. Never anything you'd think about: 'what a crazy guy'."

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