Lorraine region Yachtsman in the Vosges

Will the Dutch and French police finally be able to finally solve the mystery of the murder of an eleven-year-old child twenty years after the fact? All means are used to find the suspect, Jos Brech, 55, a Dutch bushcraft specialist (survivor in difficult circumstances), who disappeared from the cottage he occupied in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines (Haut-Rhin) in the Vosges.

A gigantic manhunt was launched on Wednesday, after the Dutch police, thanks to crosses of DNA sampling, had become certain and after he had searched in his chalet in Vosges, Jos Brech was indeed the biggest suspect in the murder. Nicky Verstappen, 11 years old, missing in a youth camp in the nature reserve Brunssummerheide, on the night of 9-10 August 1998 in the province of Limburg, in the southern Netherlands, near the German border. The body of the child, which was sexually abused before it was killed, was found a day later.

Twenty years later the tragedy eventually reacted to the characteristics of a classified case, a "cold case", so multiple attempts, the last of unsuccessful DNA tests in 2008, had the hope of identification and to stop the killer. Until the Dutch police decided in early 2018 to start the largest study ever with DNA sampling of 21,500 men, between 18 and 75 years old, living in the same place as the victim, Heibloem, municipality 1,000 inhabitants in Limburg.

Almost 15,000 people in the sector lent themselves for a DNA sample. Jos Brech, who had been heard as a witness in the case a few days after the murder, did not belong to the volunteers. This aroused the researchers' suspicions. His family, who had recently reported his disappearance, would have referred the police to the Vosges chalet where the researchers found DNA traces of his possessions. Traces that corresponded "100%" to the DNA of the child, as confirmed by our fellow Dutch Bob Van Huet, reporter General Daily Newspaper (AD), looking for French who could cross the alleged killer. A European arrest warrant was issued on 12 July by the Dutch police against Jos Brech whose family announced his disappearance last April after he told them that he would go on a mountain walk.

The man was born on October 29, 1962, according to the research report published at Europol; his full surname is Joseph Theresia Johannes Brech; it measures 1.80 m; he weighs 80 kg; he is wearing 41/42. His brown hair would be gray today. The website of the Dutch police is a distinctive sign that has "big ears". He is considered very experienced, able to feed himself for several weeks in nature. There is no indication that the man is no longer alive, according to the Public Prosecutor of Maastricht, quoted by the NL Times, a Dutch newspaper in the English language.

DNA spores are "100%" matured

Ph. R.

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