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In Au­gust 1998, 11- year- old Dutch lad Nicky Ver­stap­pen went miss­ing. It didn’t take very long for the au­thor­i­ties to find him, although by then it was far too late. Nicky’s body was found, par­tially ob­scured by un­der­growth, less than two kilo­me­tres away from the tent he had been sleep­ing in, around 36 hours after he first went miss­ing. From the mo­ment po­lice dis­cov­ered his body, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion seemed to grind to a halt. No cause of death could be de­ter­mined, likely sus­pects were grad­u­ally elim­i­nated and tests could not match a DNA pro­file found at the crime scene to any­one. The Ver­stap­pen fam­ily suf­fered frus­tra­tion and heartache over the years, as po­lice ap­peared to give up on the case. It took the ef­forts of a Dutch crime re­porter to bring his mur­der back to na­tional at­ten­tion and bring about the ar­rest of a sus­pect care­lessly ruled out in the orig­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion. We’ve spo­ken to Peter de Vries about the big­gest cold case in Dutch his­tory, and why he thinks that cops could have caught Nicky Ver­stap­pen’s killer ten years ago. Ben biggs Ed­i­tor

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