Body of woman missing for weeks found in water near northern coast

Anja Schaap
Anja SchaapPhoto: Politie

A boating crew sailing in the North Sea found the body of Anja Schaap, a 33-year-old woman from Katwijk aan Zee missing for the last three weeks. Schaap left a bar in her Zuid-Holland hometown in good spirits during the early morning hours of May 29 after having a few drinks with a family member there.

Police said an autopsy would be conducted, but did not say when. Detectives were going to turn their attention in the case to determine how she wound up in the water, and where she entered the water.

Schaap was found over a hundred kilometers north of where she went missing. Her body was found in the North Sea off the coast of the Wadden Islands on Tuesday at about 1:30 p.m., police said. Authorities from the region around The Hague running the investigation were notified on Wednesday because the body matched Schaap's description.

Schaap was seen on surveillance camera footage in different neighborhoods through 2:40 a.m., and was possibly recorded by another camera in grainy footage an hour later. A witness saw someone that looked like Schaap at 6:10 a.m., but the bystander was not able to definitively identify the missing woman.

The witness said they saw the womean near a location where Schaap's handbag was found. The purse was found along the water off Melkweg, less than a kilometer from the beachfront that leads to the North Sea.

Several large scale searches took place in the weeks following her disappearance. Dozens of volunteers and rescuers teamed up at least ten times to examine different areas, including several bodies of water around Katwijk.