Suspect convicted in missing Rotterdam teen’s death; Sentence harsher than expected
The court in the Hague sentenced a 29-year-old Roy B. to 44 months in prison in connection with the death of 17-year-old Rotterdam youth Orlando Boldewijn. The teenager went missing in February 2018 after a date with B., whom he met on dating app Grindr.
The sentence of 3 years and 8 months behind bars was more than double the 20 months recommended by prosecutors in closing arguments at the beginning of the month. The sentence was given without any condition that could allow for B.'s early release. The family of Boldewijn was represented by attorney Sébas Diekstra who said they were "very satisfied" and felt justice had been served, according to Nu.nl.
Boldewijn and B. had a date at the suspect’s boat during the overnight hours from 18 to 19 February, and after Boldewijn was brought back to the quay he somehow wound up in the ice-cold water of the De Blauwe Loper in Ypenburg, a neighborhood in The Hague. "When the suspect, back on his pontoon, saw the victim in the water and heard him cry for help, he did nothing to help him," the court said in a statement about the verdict. Boldewijn was reported missing on 19 February, and his body was not found until a week later. B., who was 27 at the time, was arrested on 22 April.
B. said he remembered little from the night the teen went missing. In its closing argument, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) said that while it could not be determined how exactly Boldewijn wound up in the water, it was clear that B. knew he was in the water and did nothing to prevent the 17-year-old's death. "Out of indifference, he has decided not to offer any help," the prosecutor said, according to Nu.nl.
The court agreed with the argument, saying that it "determined that the suspect was aware that the victim was in need. For example, the victim called for help and the suspect stated that he could not enter the water himself, because the cold water could then kill him. Because the suspect has left the victim to his own fate, and was aware of the dangers, the court is of the opinion that abuse was proven."
"In addition, if the suspect had called 112 it is likely, because of the arrival times of the emergency services and the possibilities to intervene medically successfully, that the victim could have been rescued," the court continued. Because of that, B. could be blamed for the drowning, the court said, whereas prosecutors had argued that it was negligent behavior without intent.
In rendering its decision, the court overruled the prosecution, giving the tougher prison sentence. "It is a well-known fact that not providing help to a person lying in ice-cold water and in distress will certainly lead to drowning," the court said. It also determined that B. obstructed the police investigation, causing distress to Boldewijn's family and friends, and said that B. destroyed evidence like chat messages and Boldewijn's public transit card.
"Furthermore, he showed objectionable and calculating behavior in the days after the victim drowned. For example, he went fishing where the victim drowned and had wanted to borrow a camera for underwater viewing. It shows a great lack of moral awareness and insight into the feelings and interests of others," the court determined.