Suspect in boy’s 1998 murder says he found the body, but didn’t kill him
Jos B., the man accused of abducting, sexually abusing, and killing 11-year-old old Nicky Verstappen in Brunssummerheide in 1998, claims that he found the boy's body, but did not kill him. His DNA was on the child because he straightened the boy's clothes a bit, B. said in a pre-recorded video played in court on Monday, NU.nl reports.
"It was a beautiful summer in '98. I was out to enjoy nature. Also on the day in question. I stopped at the edge of the forest when something in the distance caught my attention," B. said. According to the man, he saw Nicky's body and went to check whether the child was still alive.
The boy was dead when he found him, the man said. "I wiped leaves from his pajama pants and straightened his clothes a little," B. said. "I could do nothing more for him." He cycled away because he was afraid that he would not be believed, he said.
The court raised doubts about B.'s statement, calling it strange that he would take the time to straighten the boy's clothes and then just leave him there. B. also could not say exactly what it was that caught his attention in the distance and led him straight to the boy's body.
B. was arrested two years ago, some 20 years after Nicky was found dead in the Brunssummerheide, where he was on summer camp. A DNA kinship investigation led to the authorities identifying B. as a suspect. His DNA was found in 21 places on Nicky's body and underwear. An expert in the criminal file said that this points to "prolonged and intensive" contact."
The Public Prosecution Service is prosecuting B. for abducting Nicky, sexually abusing the child, and then killing him. B. is facing charges of qualified manslaughter, the maximum sentence for which is life in prison.
Investigation was not able to conclusively show that Nicky had been sexually abuse, though there were indications of this. His pajama pants and underwear were inside out when his body was found, for example. The cause of his death could also not be determined with certainty. The Prosecutor believes the child was smothered.