The family of Jürgen Conings has asked for serenity and respect ahead of the final farewell and the cremation of the former career soldier, whose body was found on Sunday after a month-long manhunt.
The final farewell will take place on Friday between 7:00 PM and 8:30 PM in a funeral home in Maasmechelen (Limburg), and the family has said this will not be a time for political statements, according to Maarten Stulens of Papillon funeral home, that is organising the final farewell.
“The whole affair has already received enough media attention. The family wants to be able to say goodbye in privacy. They realise that there could be a strong media presence on Friday. Of course, they cannot prevent this, but they urge people to keep their distance and to show respect and calmness,” Stulens said.
The cremation will take place in the privacy of the family on Saturday, according to reports from De Standaard.
Conings’ body has been released following the autopsy, which confirmed that he took his own life using a gun, and estimated that the date of death was between one and four weeks ago.
On Tuesday, the Public Prosecutor’s Office gave permission for the mortal remains to be cremated. Conings had previously told his partner that his wish was to be cremated after death.
Conings disappeared on 17 May with heavy weaponry, leaving behind several letters, one of which included a threat to Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst, who as a result was kept in a safe house during the time Conings was missing.
After a 35-day search, his body was found on Sunday in Dilserbos near the Hoge Kempen National Park, near where police and the army has been searching for him.
Two former members of the far-right Vlaams Belang political party have put out calls for people to commemorate Conings, according to reports from De Morgen.
One former MP for Vlaams Belang, Rob Verreycken, has created a group on the social media platform Telegram calling on people to gather at the Dilserbos, whilst another, Carrera Neefs, called for a floral tribute in Brussels, continuing the support Conings harnessed in the last month.
Verreycken stated that the group wants to “pay tribute to a veteran who courageously served his people and country, but was abandoned when he deserved help.”
Whilst Conings was being searched for, a support group ‘Als 1 achter Jürgen’ had 50,000 members at one point before it was taken down by Facebook, as it violated the policy regarding Dangerous Individuals and Organisations.
During the Whitsun weekend, around 150 people gathered for a silent march of support for Conings in Maasmechelen, however, his relatives begged them to stop and eventually the rain dispersed most of them.
For any questions about suicide, you can contact the Suicide Line anonymously on the toll-free number 1813 or at www.zelfmoord1813.be in Dutch, at 0800 32 123 in French, or at 02 648 40 14 in English.