Girl, 14, found murdered in Leiden on New Year’s; Police arrest 32-year-old man
Authorities in Leiden said they arrested a 32-year-old man from the city in connection with the death of a teenager. The body of the 14-year-old girl was found hidden in the bushes near a sports and recreation area on Melchior Treublaan on Friday. The arrest was made later that day.
The teenager, Esmee, was reported missing from her Hazerswoude-Rijndijk home late Thursday night. Police began searching for her in several locations soon after. Her body was found near the fence along the railway by a group of people working out at the sports area the following morning.
Police said that she died as the result of a crime, without providing further detail. The suspect was taken into custody, and he was being held in restrictive custody. His arraignment was set for Monday, Omroep West reported. Authorities urgently appealed for witnesses with any information to contact them.
Authorities have not revealed what led them to the 32-year-old man. His role in the girl’s death was still under investigation. Forensic investigators and specially trained dogs combed the area over the weekend looking for trace evidence linked to the case.
Esmee’s family and friends visited the location where the girl’s body was found on Sunday, according to local media outlet Sleutelstad. Her friends included classmates, and long-time acquaintances from the horse stable she visited practically since she was born. “Dear Esmee, much too young. Rest in peace, sweetie,” stated one card standing amidst the flowers, stuffed animals, candles and energy drinks left in tribute at the site.
An avid horseback rider who had her own horse, Esmee’s funeral service will be organized by local stable-owner Wilbert van der Post. “I’ve known her since she was a baby. She was on the farm almost every day,” he told Radio West. “She just absolutely loved animals. She was a very sweet girl, it will be a huge loss.”
The funeral service will take place this weekend at the guest house on Van der Post’s farm. From there, her body will be taken by horse-drawn carriage to the cemetery. "That's all you can do for her, is make her goodbye as beautiful as possible."