Sex crime preceded deaf man's death on playground: Prosecutors
An investigation into the death of a 32-year-old deaf man in Assen determined that a sex crime took place on the playground where the man died, authorities said on Tuesday. Five men were arrested after reports surfaced that the hearing-impaired gardener named Martin was accused of sexually abusing a four-year-old girl just after 1 p.m. on Saturday.
The death had been rumored in the Dutch press to be the result of an act of vigilante justice, but authorities have made no conclusive statements on the circumstances thus far. Among those arrested were the girl's father and four bystanders who tried to detain the man before police arrived on scene.
The five men were still suspected "of involvement in the man's death for the time being," the prosecutor said. They were reportedly aged 27, 36, 38, 46 and 56 years.
Initial autopsy results were inconclusive, the public prosecutor said in a statement on Tuesday. Investigators were still trying to determine the cause of death.
No details were revealed about the nature of the alleged sex crime. Authorities cited the privacy of the involved parties as the reason for refusing to release further information.
A former colleague of Martin's speculated that the hard of hearing man may have scared people because of his loud voice, difficulty speaking, and large size. The co-worker told Dagblad van het Noorden that Martin relied on messaging apps for communication, and may have given off the impression that he was taking photos inappropriately at the Peelo district playground.
"Martin was a honest, friendly and hardworking guy," the newspaper's source said.