Possible forensic traces of abducted, killed Gino found in suspect's home
The authorities found some possible forensic traces of the kidnapped and killed 9-year-old Gino van der Straeten from Kerkrade in the home of suspect Donny M., the Public Prosecution Service (OM) said on Wednesday during a non-substantive hearing in the Maastricht court. The forensic traces include DNA found on the lock of a bathroom door.
The OM said that there is still plenty of investigation to be done to determine how reliable this DNA trace is. In December, the OM still said that they found no trace of the boy in M.’s home, calling it “remarkable” and “strange.”
The authorities also found drops in the house containing traces of MDMA and the active substance in Kamagra, a type of Viagra. These substances were also found in a liquid leaking from Gino’s mouth when his body was found. That could indicate that the child had vomited; something M. said happened.
Gino disappeared on June 1 in Kerkrade while playing outside near his sister’s home. The police and hundreds of volunteers searched far and wide, hoping to find the boy quickly. On June 4, the police arrested M. in his home in Geleen. They found Gino’s body a short time later, after M. told the police where to look.
During the first hearing in this case, Donny M. told the court that he took the child into his home, gave him drugs and Kamagra, and sexually abused him. An autopsy on Gino’s body showed that he was strangled and choked.
On Wednesday, the OM said that the content of M.’s statements would be tested in every possible way. For example, the public prosecutor noted that the suspect said that Gino vomited before he administered the drugs. That does not match the drops found in M.’s home.
Forensic investigators are still studying the suspect’s bedding, which was in the washing machine the night the police arrested him. The suspect said that the child was never on his bed. Investigators will check this by seeing if they can find Gino’s hair on the bedding. They’re also taking a closer look at the garbage bags in which Gino’s body was found and the pillow with which he was allegedly smothered. Investigators found none of Gino’s DNA on the pillow itself, but a pillowcase that may have been wrapped around it is still being examined for traces.
M. is also suspected of possessing and distributing child pornography and sexually abusing an incapacitated person in 2019. The man was previously convicted of assaulting and threatening two children and sexually abusing at least one of them.
The suspect was admitted to the Pieter Baan Center for examination. The mental health experts are still working on the report of his assessments.
The next hearing will happen on May 10. This will be another non-substantive hearing. It is not yet clear when the trial against M. will start.
Reporting by ANP