TV show participants trying to find their birth parents connected to wrong families
Spoorloos, a Dutch TV show that connects relatives who lost track of each other or never met, connected at least two participants to the wrong birth families. Broadcaster KRO-NCRV confirmed that in a press statement after an investigation by journalist Kees van der Spek, NOS reports.
Van der Spek investigated a Columbian “fixer,” Edwin Vela, who found Dutch people’s relatives in Columbia for the television program. In his television program Oplichters Aangepakt, Van der Spek revealed that at least two participants got matched with people who weren’t their biological family.
On the talk show Jinek on Monday, Van der Spek told how his investigation started with Spoorloos participant Barbara Quee. She felt suspicious about Spoorloos’s search for her biological mother in 2005 because the woman wanted no contact with her for unclear reasons after the show.
Some investigation led him to another Spoorloos contestant, Kristian van der Mark. The show connected him to his half-brother almost 20 years ago. But after that, he barely managed to get in touch with him. Vela was central in both cases.
Van der Spek and Van der Mark flew to Colombia together and managed to track down his biological mother - they confirmed with a DNA test. The woman was not connected at all with the man Spoorloos presented as his brother.
The investigative journalist pointed out that Vela had a position of trust in Spoorloos. “He is someone you should be able to rely on blindly, but along the way, that turned out not to be the case,” Van der Spek said on Jinek. “You must realize that such a man works indirectly for Spoorloos, and he earns from it. So if he is successful, he is a good seeker.”
KRO-NCRV launched an investigation into all 16 cases the fixer worked on for Spoorloos. Two have been confirmed via DNA Match. “And if desired and possible, we can still offer those involved a DNA test. Since 2019, we have been doing a DNA test as standard with all our searches,” the broadcaster said.
KRO-NCRV said it was “shocked” by Van der Spek’s findings about Vela and is now in “close contact with possibly involved participants.”