A Flemish man has been added to the most wanted fugitives list after he disappeared without a trace following his conviction for the murder of his friend, whose body was found inside his parked vehicle.
The fugitive, identified as Kevin De Cooman, was convicted by a Brussels court in June for the murder of his friend Frederik Heyvaert, whom he shot dead in March 2015, according to police.
De Cooman reportedly shot his victim in the back of the head and hid his corpse in the back of his van, who police discovered only several months after the facts.
Upon his arrest following the discovery of the body in August, De Cooman’s statements to police were inconsistent, according to HLN. The man reportedly said that his victim committed suicide, but later said he had shot him accidentally while showing him his firearm.
He was found guilty by prosecutors and sentenced to 15 years in prison for manslaughter after he appealed an original sentence, the outlet reports.
De Cooman was not placed in detention during his trial because he was not deemed a flight risk. The convicted fugitive attended his hearings up to the date of his sentence, after which he was freed pending his summons to prison.
But authorities said De Cooman never showed up to the prison, with reports by the outlet saying he no longer has a fixed address either.
Following his disappearance, his lawyer told the outlet that the man’s family was worried and that he could not have gone far because he was not a professional criminal.
His recent addition to the federal police’s Fugitive Active Search Team’s (FAST) most wanted list brings the number of most wanted fugitives in Belgium to twenty.
The Brussels Times