Death of Nicole van den Hurk – Wikipedia

Nicole van den Hurk

Nicole van den Hurk

Death of Nicole van den Hurk
On 6 October 1995, fifteen-year-old Nicole van den Hurk (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈnɪkɔːl vɑn dɛn ˈɦʏrk]) disappeared on her way to work in Eindhoven, in the Dutch province of North Brabant. On 22 November, her body was found in the woods between the towns of Mierlo and Lierop.

Death of Nicole van den Hurk
Nicole van den Hurk.png
Nicole van den Hurk
c. 6 October 1995 (body discovered 22 November 1995)
Eindhoven, North Brabant, Netherlands
51°25′37.7″N 5°40′1.63″E
Andy van den Hurk (1996, 2011)[1]
Ad van den Hurk (1996)[1]
Jos de G. (2014[1]–2016[2])
Jos de G.
Rape, manslaughter[3]
2 November 2015 – 21 November 2016
Guilty (rape)
Not guilty (manslaughter)[4]
5 years’ imprisonment[4]
This is a Dutch name; the family name is van den Hurk, not Hurk.
In 2011, van den Hurk’s stepbrother confessed to the killing,[5] but was released a month later due to lack of evidence; he later said he had falsely confessed to get her body exhumed for DNA tests.[6] DNA collected from the exhumed remains and from the crime scene led to the arrest of a man identified as Jos de G. (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈjɔs də ˈɣeː]) in January 2014.[7][8] Charged with rape and manslaughter, de G. was acquitted of manslaughter but found guilty of rape in November 2016, and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.[2]

Background and disappearance Edit
Nicole van den Hurk was born on 4 July 1980 in Erkelenz, Germany. Her biological father was married to another woman, and she moved to the Netherlands with her mother and Dutch stepfather at a young age. Her stepfather won custody of her after divorcing her mother in 1989.[9][10] In April 1995, her mother committed suicide in Tilburg.[10] At the time of her disappearance, she was staying at her grandmother’s house in Tongelre.[11]

Van den Hurk left her grandmother’s house at 05:15 on Friday, 6 October 1995, to cycle to the bakery in Woensel shopping centre (nl), where she was working a holiday job; she never arrived.[12][13] At 18:00, police found her bicycle in the river Dommel. Between then and 17 October, the police searched the river and a nearby forest, and on 19 October, her rucksack was found near Eindhoven’s canal; the canal and its south bank were searched the following day. Between 28 and 29 October, these areas were searched again. Her stepfather denied the hypothesis that she had run away to Germany, where her extended family lived. By 20 November, police had received around 300 leads.[1]

On Wednesday, 22 November, a passerby found van den Hurk’s body in the woods between Mierlo and Lierop.[10][14] Her funeral on 28 November was attended by some one thousand mourners.[15] The Openbaar Ministerie (Public Prosecution) stated that she most likely died from a stab wound which caused internal bleeding, but the exact cause of death was never determined.[16]

Investigation Edit
On 24 October 1995, an anonymous caller told police he could identify the killer, but the call ended prematurely. The recording of the call was broadcast on national television in January 1996 in an attempt to trace the caller.[12] Later, the team of detectives was reduced to four.[1][12] In February, a friend of Van den Hurk’s family arrested for drug trafficking told police that she had been forced to smuggle heroin by men involved in the killing.[1][17] The police said her story was flawed and was of no help. Meanwhile, Passie magazine offered a reward for details about the killer. Between May and June, Van den Hurk’s stepbrother and stepfather were arrested in connection with the killing, and then cleared.[1][12]

In 2004, a cold case team investigated the killing to no avail.[18][19] By 2011, Van den Hurk’s stepbrother Andy had moved to England. On 8 March, he confessed to the killing in a Facebook post, and was arrested by British police.[5][20] He was extradited to the Netherlands on 30 March,[21][22] but was released five days later[23] as the Facebook post was the only evidence against him.[24] Later, Andy retracted his confession, saying that he believed his father was the culprit;[25][26] in 2016, he said in an interview that he had falsely confessed to the killing in order to revive attention to her death and get her body exhumed for DNA testing.[6]

Van den Hurk’s remains were exhumed in September 2011 to allow DNA samples to be obtained.[27] On the same day, the reward for the killer’s details was increased from 25,000 guilders to €15,000.[28] Within a week, the police announced that foreign DNA had been found on the remains[28] and had received more than twenty new leads.[29] In January 2014, the police arrested a 46-year-old man identified as Jos de G.[30] after his DNA matched samples found on the remains and at the crime scene.[19][31] de G. had previously been convicted of three rapes, being sentenced to three years preventive detention and compulsory treatment for one of them.[30][31] He was known to have left his ex-girlfriend’s home after a fight a few hours before Van den Hurk’s disappearance.[32]

Trial Edit
When the case first came to court in April 2014, de G.’s lawyer disputed the DNA evidence, as DNA from other people, including van den Hurk’s ex-boyfriend, was also found on her remains;[32] he argued she may have had consensual sex with de G., had had multiple sexual partners, and may have been pregnant when she died.[33][34] In July, the murder charge against de G. was dropped in favor of manslaughter and rape charges.[3][35] At another hearing in October 2015, de G. denied contact with van den Hurk at the time of her disappearance, but said he may have had consensual sex with her a few days earlier.[36]

De G.’s trial began on 2 November 2015.[37] Prosecution experts testified to the DNA evidence.[38] Later in the month, the trial was suspended for two weeks during investigation into a witness’s statement that de G. had confessed to killing a girl.[39][40] In a later interview, the witness and another person said de G. had made this confession while the three were in a mental institution together a decade earlier.[40] de G.’s attorney argued this testimony was motivated by the €15,000 reward.[41]

DNA from at least three people was found in a trace of sperm recovered from van den Hurk’s remains.[42] Prosecution experts believed the DNA belonged to her stepbrother, her then-boyfriend and de G..[6] With experts disagreeing on the reliability of the sample, it was announced in March 2016 that scientists would re-analyse the DNA results using new methods.[6] On 19 April, the court heard that it was 2.28 million times more likely that the DNA belonged to de G. and two others, than to three random people.[43]

On 12 October 2016, the prosecution demanded that de G. receive fourteen years’ imprisonment, asserting that he could not have had consensual sex with van den Hurk, arguing that she had no time for a relationship.[16] On 21 November, de G. was found guilty of rape and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.[4] In determining the penalty, the court took into account the finding that he was legally insane at the time of the crime.[44] He was acquitted of manslaughter on the basis of the possibility that another of the three people whose DNA was found on the remains (who was never affirmatively identified) was involved in van den Hurk’s death.[4]

See also
External links
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