Suspect in 1998 murder of Dutch child arrested in Spain

The prime suspect in the killing of a Dutch child 20 years ago has been arrested in Spain, authorities said.

The suspect in the 1998 murder of Nicky Verstappen was arrested in Spain on Sunday. The boy, 9, was abducted from a Netherlands summer camp and found, sexually abused and murdered, the following day. Photo courtesy of Netherlands Politei
The suspect in the 1998 murder of Nicky Verstappen was arrested in Spain on Sunday. The boy, 9, was abducted from a Netherlands summer camp and found, sexually abused and murdered, the following day. Photo courtesy of Netherlands Politei

Nicky Verstappen, 9, went missing from his tent at a summer camp in the Netherlands in August 1998. His body was found the following day in a Christmas tree farm less than a mile from the camp.

The incident horrified the Dutch and led to an extraordinary manhunt across Europe which included the voluntary donation, earlier this year, of 16,000 DNA samples in an attempt to solve the case.

Netherlands police identified the suspect as Jos B., 55. Sky News referred to him as Jos Brech, who was discovered on Sunday in an isolated, wooded area near Barcelona.

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Last week, police revealed a DNA match between evidence from the boy’s disappearance and one of Brech’s relatives. Brech was found after a tip by a man who said he had spoken to Brech several times and recognized him from photographs broadcast on television.

A cold-case team of Dutch forensic investigators re-opened the case five years ago, using new techniques to identify evidence, DutchNews.reported. It added that Brech is a known sex offender.

Netherlands police said in a statement on Sunday that the suspect is currently “in a Spanish jail cell” and will be extradited to the Netherlands.

ByEd Adamczyk