Mystery of woman found shot dead and dumped in well in Zeeland

Mystery of woman found shot dead and dumped in well in Zeeland
© Opsporing verzocht/AVRO

Police in Westdorpe, a town in the Dutch province of Zeeland on the border with East Flanders, are working on the mystery of the identity of a woman whose body was found dumped naked in a well in the town, together with a plastic rubbish bag. She had been shot dead.

The woman’s identity remains a mystery, as does the question of where she came from and where she was killed. Westdorpe lies exactly on the frontier, on the Ghent-Terneuzen canal just north of the Flemish town of Zelzate. Since she has not been recognised as coming from the town itself, she might have come from anywhere else, including right over the border in Belgium.

With her was a plastic bag made in France, but no clothing or anything else that might identify her. The killer(s) had gone to some lengths to make sure she remained anonymous. From the body alone they were able to say she was 55 to 60 years old, 1m60 tall weighing around 60kg, with short reddish hair. She appears to have looked after herself well, judging from the condition of her nails and teeth. She also showed the scars of several operations, on the uterus, appendix, gall bladder and ovaries.

We have looked through a very large number of missing persons dossiers in the Netherlands and Belgium, and we now plan to extend the search to other countries,” Martine Jacobs, head of the investigating team, told the VRT. “Also her DNA, fingerprints and dental records have been compared with data bases in other European countries.”

Identification of the victim is the first priority, Jacobs said. “Only after that can we carry out an investigation into whoever has this on their conscience.”

The body was found on 22 June, and police are now asking members of the public to think of anyone who may have given a reason to be gone for a long period of time, and who therefore may not yet have been reported missing.

In the meantime, the woman will be buried on Tuesday in Terneuzen. “Sadly there will be no relatives present, only people who have a professional reason to be there,” said a member of the local prosecutor’s office. “We want to know as quickly as possible who this woman is so that her loved ones can be informed.”

Alan Hope

The Brussels Times

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