Dutch Language Blog

The Investigation of Nicky Verstappen’s Death Posted by on Aug 23, 2018 in News

Yesterday morning, Dutch police announced the discovery of the verdachte or prime suspect in Nicky Verstappen’s death. After years of investigation, police finally matched the DNA on the body of Nicky to that of Jos Brech. Although the investigation had recently been mentioned in the news, the crime goes back 10 years which is why it is important to understand what happened and why it has taken so long.

Photo taken by R/DV/RS found on Flickr.com with license CC BY 2.0

The Crime

On August of 1998, Nicky Verstappen, a 9-year-old boy from Heibloem in Limburg, went missing from a summer camp in the Brunsummerheide, near the border with Germany. The camp staff quickly began a search and later called the police for support. Despite the efforts of police and volunteers, they were not able to make any discoveries on the first day. The following day, another search party was sent out, this time with the support of other enforcement agencies in the country and they found the body of Nicky Verstappen.

The Investigation

As police investigated the area surrounding the body and the body itself, it was evident this was a murder. At the time, there were a few open cases around Europe of kindermoordenaars or serial killers who had targeted children, but there wasn’t enough evidence to convict anyone. Although the media hype died down, police continued to investigate the murder. In January of this year, police announced that they were widening their search scope to match the DNA that was found in Nicky’s body. It is through this effort that they found a suspect, Jos Brech.

The following video gives a timeline of the investigation.

The Search

Yesterday morning, August 22nd, the police in Maastricht announced a doorbraak or breakthrough and the search for Jos Brech began. His last known location was camping in France. Police are seeking help from everyone given that the verdachte has good survival training and can easily hide. The 20-year delay in this breakthrough has brought up the topic of a DNA database where everyone would be required to participate. There are pros and cons to this, but until the Dutch legislature decides on anything, the police are forced to ask for volunteers. You can read more about this in this article by NPO.

The following video is a short interview with the mother of Nicky Verstappen. It is quite a moving video.

If you have any information that could be useful, please contact your local police.

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About the Author: Karoly Molina

Since I was a little girl, I was fascinated with languages and writing. I speak English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and a little bit of French. I am a writer, reader, language teacher, traveler, and a food lover! I now live in The Netherlands with my husband Riccardo, our cat Mona, and our dog Lisa, and the experience has been phenomenal. The Dutch culture is an exciting sometimes topsy-turvy world that I am happily exploring!


  1. Marie-Jacqueline:

    Yes, I remember this what turnt out to be a murder of a child. Heibloem is not that far where I live. Like we say here: On the other side of the river Meuse.

    It happenend in 1998, so it’s 20 years ago.
    This murder was a news hype. Still every few years it was in the news.

    The boy must have been very scared as he was kidnapped, abused and murdered.

    The parents and the other children have and stiil do suffer.
    They know now who did it.
    But now they are on a different path of anquish

    First police have to find perpetrator
    This man has to stand trial.
    He has to be sentenced.

    I hope the family of Nicky will get the answers on the many questions they will have.

    First of all: WHY?

    • Karoly G Molina:

      @Marie-Jacqueline Marie, I think that is probably the most pressing question and the hardest to answer. I feel so much pain for the family and I hope they can find peace.