Netherlands extradites suspect in Belgian toddler's abduction, death
Dave De K., the 35-year-old man suspected of abducting and killing Dean Verberckmoes, was extradited to Belgium on Tuesday. The Dutch police drove him to the border with Roosendaal, where the Belgian police took custody of him, De K.'s Belgian lawyer Peter Verpoorten confirmed to local broadcaster HLN.
De K. was in custody in the Netherlands on suspicion of kidnapping and involvement in the death of the 4-year-old Belgian boy. Dean's body was found near the Zeeland island of Neeltje Jans on January 17. De K. was arrested in Meerkerk, Utrecht earlier that day.
The Belgian authorities asked that De K. be extradited because Dean was Belgian and abducted from the Belgian town of Sint-Niklaas. The Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM) agreed to hand over the investigation. De K. wanted to be tried in the Netherlands, arguing that a large part of the investigation happened in the Netherlands. His lawyer also argued that the prison in Dendermonde did not have suitable access to mental health care.
But last week, the court in Amsterdam ruled that Belgium has provided sufficient guarantees for the living conditions of extradited detainees and that their fundamental rights will not be compromised. This includes access to medical and psychological care.
The Netherlands had ten working days to extradite the man. According to HLN, the extradition happened more quickly because the Belgian authorities wanted to confront De K. with his girlfriend Rony W. The Dutch woman was arrested in Belgium, also on suspicion of involvement in Dean's kidnapping and death, but it is not yet clear whether she played an active role in the boy's death. Sources told HLN that the police would do a reconstruction of the facts soon