Nicky Verstappen murder suspect arrested in isolated area in Spain


Verstappen's body was found a day after his disappearance close to the camp site, with authorities later confirming he had been sexually abused before his death.

Nicky Verstappen, 11, disappeared during the night of August 9, 1998, while at a summer camp at the Brunssumerheide nature reserve, near the German border.

Brech is in Spain awaiting extradition to the Netherlands.

About a day after Nicky went missing while at a summer camp in 1998, Brech was stopped by military police close to the scene but was not considered a suspect.

Jos Brech, 55, was arrested in connection with the cold case.

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Dutch investigators said the victim was arrested near the Spanish city of Barcelona "thanks to a witness who recognized him after seeing his picture in the media in recent days". "He was taken into custody and will be handed over to the Netherlands", said a statement from police in Limburg, the southern Dutch province where the boy disappeared. Police in Spain distributed photos showing Brech's arrest Sunday in a rural area near Barcelona.

'The family is very relieved.

At the time of the murder police had launched a massive search, but the boy's killer was never found. As he had previously been questioned by police as a witness he quickly became a suspect.

Police said new digital techniques helped them to develop a DNA profile in 2008, from traces found on Verstappen's clothing, but there had been no match.

After being reported missing by his family in April, police examined Brech's home and found he is a 100% match for the DNA found on the schoolboy.

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Brech was believed to be on the run, so, on Wednesday, they released images of the suspect to the public and a Dutch citizen who recognised him reported him to authorities on Sunday.

'We found traces of DNA on his personal belongings.

The hope, said Nicky Jansen, a spokeswoman for the Dutch Forensic Institute, which carried out the analysis, is that "if the DNA of a volunteer shows any familial relationship to the suspect's DNA, investigators can identify the suspect by analysing the volunteer's family tree".

A European-wide warrant for Brech's arrest was issued on June 12.

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