Some horrible crimes remain unsolved no matter how much work investigators put into them. They are left to the bereaved families with few options despite the unanswered questions and the longing for justice for their murdered loved ones.
A fascinating story along such lines but which eventually got an unexpected twist and ending happened to the 1995 murder case of Nicole Van Den Hurk, a then 15-year-old teenager from the Netherlands, who was found murdered on the side of the road. It became a sensational case, and the police worked their asses off to try to bring justice to the loss of such an innocent, young life. Unfortunately, they were never able to find a suspect.
The life of the girl has all the elements of a dramatic, albeit convoluted, soap opera or television drama series plot. Nicole was a product of a one-night stand encounter between her single mother then, and a married man. Her mother eventually married someone else. However, they ended up divorcing in 1989. Strangely, Nicole’s stepfather won custody of her. It proved to be a blessing in disguise for Nicole as her mother later killed herself. She eventually went on to live with her grandmother in the Netherlands.
In 1995, the 15-year-old Nicole was trying to live a normal life and put all her life’s tragedies behind including her mother’s suicide. She even landed a holiday job near her grandmother’s house working at the Woensel shopping center in the Dutch city of Eindhoven.
The teenager on that fateful day left her grandmother’s home riding her bike at about 5:15 p.m. to make it in time for her 6 p.m. shift one Friday afternoon. She, however, never got to her workplace as she was murdered on her way there.
It took a month for her body to be found. The local office of prosecution determined the cause of death to be most likely internal bleeding caused by a stab wound to the chest.
It was unfortunate for the case that a proper autopsy was never performed because Nicole’s family opted to have her buried quickly.
Nicole’s case fascinated the public and the media. Police continuously worked on the case, and they never wanted for tips from anonymous callers. However, the police remained unsuccessful in determining the culprit including facing some fabricated confessions, false arrests, and false suspects.
Years passed, and Nicole’s case would have remained unsolved until her half-brother made a shocking admission on Facebook in 2011. In his post, Andy confessed that he killed his sister. The police then had Andy extradited from England where he was living at that time back to the Netherlands to prosecute him.
But that does not seem to be the proper, logical ending to a seemingly twisted plot. It turned out; Andy did not kill his sister. It was only his ploy to have himself arrested, and in the process bring attention back to the case, and for the closure, he was also longing for. Andy’s stunt forced the police to exhume Nicole’s remains for DNA testing.
The DNA test gave the unsolved case a crucial lead as experts found foreign DNA on Nicole’s remains.
In 2014, police were able to match the DNA found on Nicole’s remains to an ex-criminal named Jos De G. Jos had previously been convicted of three rapes.
The case went to court, and the defense lawyer for Jos argued he could not have possibly been the main suspect since there was DNA from two other men also found on Nicole’s remains, including her ex-boyfriend.
The lawyer even argued that Nicole had consensual sex with Jos and even suggested that she could have been pregnant at the time of her death.
Jos’s DNA proved to be the most evident of the three types on Nicole’s remains.
The court eventually found Jos De G guilty of rape in November 2014 and sentenced him to five years in prison.
While the police considered such a win, it still didn’t completely solve the case. They established that Jos raped Nicole, but they could not establish that he killed her after. And so unfortunately for Nicole’s family, including Andy who went to great lengths to have to have police reopen the case, looks like they will never truly know who took the young life of their precious girl.