Suspect in Amber Alert case has history of child sex abuse
The man suspected of involvement in the death of 9-year-old Gino van der Straeten was previously convicted of child sex abuse. In 2017, the court in Maastricht convicted then 17-year-old Donny M. of threatening and assaulting two boys and sexually abusing at least one of them. That happened on 28 June 2017, the lawyer of one of the victims, Phil Boonen, confirmed after reports by 1Limburg.
In December 2017, the court in Maastricht sentenced Donny M. to three years' conditional placement in a juvenile detention center. He also received almost five months in juvenile detention and clinical treatment at an institution in Eindhoven for mental health care for young people up to the age of 23.
During Sunday's press conference about the suspect's arrest in the 9-year-old boy's case, the authorities said that Donny M. had a past with the judiciary and the police. But the police would not elaborate on that.
Spokespersons for the judiciary and police also refused to answer questions about the matter because the case is still under restrictions. That means that all parties involved (police, prosecutor, and defense lawyer) can provide no further information to the outside world. The suspect is also not allowed to talk to anyone except his lawyer. Counselor Sjanneke de Crom said earlier on Sunday that she would not respond to questions about her client Donny M. and the Dino case for the next three weeks.
The now 22-year-old man from Geleen will be arraigned on Tuesday or Wednesday before the examining magistrate in Maastrict. The Public Prosecution Service (OM) suspects him of kidnapping Gino and involvement in his death.
The suspect lives near the empty burned-out house in Geleen, where the police found the boy's body early on Sunday morning. The suspect, who was arrested shortly before the discovery, told the police where to look.
Gino disappeared from a playground in Kerkrade on Wednesday evening. He was staying with his sister at the time. Hundreds of volunteers, police officers, firefighters, and veterans searched Kerkrade in the coming days.
A silent march will be held in Kerkrade in memory of Gino on Wednesday. The organizers are still working out the details with the police and municipality, said Ramona Nyqvist, one of the initiators. "We still have to agree on what time we start and what the route is." A spokesperson for the municipality of Kerkrade said that the silent march would happen on Wednesday evening.
On Facebook, Nyqvist wrote: "We will make sure you get the most beautiful goodbye. Sweet boy, I hope you can play forever in the most beautiful heavenly playground. We will never forget you! Rest in peace, beautiful little angel."
Reporting by ANP