Suspect's girlfriend also held for murder, kidnapping in Belgian boy's death
The Dutch girlfriend of the man who allegedly kidnapped and killed Belgian toddler Dean Verberckmoes appeared before an investigating judge in Dendermonde, Belgium on suspicion of murder and kidnapping, the Oost-Vlaanderen prosecutor's office confirmed. It is not yet clear whether she played an active role in the boy's death.
The police detained the Dutch woman, R.W., for questioning on Monday night during a search of her home in Sint-Gillis-Waas, where she lives with alleged kidnapper Dave De K. The mother of the 4-year-old boy asked the couple to babysit the boy for one night last week, as she had in the past. It was the last time she saw him alive.
The child's mother, Elke Verberckmoes, believes R.W. lied to her. R.W. said Dean was with her, when in reality De K. may have already left with the child. The Belgian man was previously sentenced to 10 years in prison for abusing his 2-year-old stepson, resulting in his death.
It was still unclear early Wednesday afternoon whether the Dutch or Belgian court system will prosecute this case. The Public Prosecution Service in the Netherlands expects a decision on this later on Wednesday.
The Oost-Vlaanderen prosecutor's office said that the Belgian Public Prosecution Service would handle the investigation into the cause of Dean's death. The lawyer representing Dean's mother said that he wants the trial to happen in Belgium because criminal sentences in the Netherlands are not harsh enough.
Reporting by ANP.