"We hope he fights for himself now," killed boy's mom says about shot reporter
Berthie Verstappen, the mother of Dutch boy Nicky who was found killed in 1998, was horrified to hear that crime reporter Peter R. de Vries had been shot. "He has always fought for us and for Nicky and we hope he fights for himself now," she said to NOS in tears.
De Vries acted as confidant and representative for Nicky's family for over 20 years. The 11-year-old boy was found dead on Brunssummerheide in 1998, where he was on summer camp. Partly thanks to De Vries' efforts, there was a breakthrough in the case in 2018.
Jos B. was arrested twenty years after Nicky's death. In November last year, he was convicted for abducting, sexually abusing, and killing Nicky. An appeal is currently ongoing, in which De Vries also represented Nicky's family.
Berthie Verstappen said that she did not want to believe it when her daughter told her about De Vries' shooting. "We can only hope that he will make it. It is terrible."
The Verstappen family is not the only family De Vries represented. He regularly acted as confidant for victims of violent crimes and their relatives. He also stood by the family of 16-year-old Humeyra after she was shot dead at her Rotterdam school by her stalker and ex.
And he acted as confidant for Tanja Groen's family. Tanja disappeared in 1993 at age 18. Last month De Vries started a fundraiser to raise a reward for information in this cold case. "Tanja's parents are in excruciating uncertainty," De Vries said just two weeks ago. "They believe she is no longer alive. But it eats at them. They are getting older. Their greatest fear is never knowing what happened to their child."
De Vries was also a confidant for key witness Nabil B. in the Marengo process around Ridouan Taghi. The crime reporter previously said that he was on Taghi's hit list, though the criminal denied that. Nabil B.'s first lawyer after he turned key witness, Derk Wiersum, was shot dead in front of his Amsterdam home in 2019.
In 2008, De Vries played a part in gaining clarity around the disappearance of American Natalee Holloway on Aruba in May 2005. Through an undercover operation he managed to get recordings of Dutch man Joran van der Sloot talking about how he dumped the young woman in the sea after she became unwell. The man changed his story about what happened to Holloway and his role therein multiple times. Van de Sloot is currently serving a 28 years sentence in Peru for the murder of Stephany Flores, but he was never convicted in the Holloway case.