Following consultation between the Dutch and Belgian authorities, it was decided that the prosecution of Dave de Kock, one of the main suspects in the death of 4-year-old Dean will take place in Belgium, announced the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday.
Currently, De Kock is still in a cell in the Netherlands after he was arrested in the Dutch town of Meerkerk on Monday, in connection with the disappearance of the 4-year-old Dean Verberckmoes. In the evening, the toddler was found dead by the police on the island of Neeltje Jans in the Dutch province of Zeeland, some 120 kilometres away.
“As the victim, the next of kin and the suspect all have Belgian nationality, a prosecution by the Belgians is the most opportune,” the Dutch public prosecutor said in a press statement. “The Dutch part of the investigation will be continued and the results will be passed on to the Belgians. Further investigations are also being carried out in Belgium.”
De Kock has now been arrested for the unlawful deprivation of liberty and involvement in the death of 4-year-old boy, whom he had to look after last Wednesday. However, despite what he agreed with the boy’s mother, De Kock had not brought Dean home the following day.
On Thursday, he will be brought before the court in Amsterdam, but the case will be followed up in Belgium from then on. Whether this means that the boy was killed in Belgium – something that the investigators are taking into account – was not confirmed.
Earlier on Wednesday, De Kock’s girlfriend was also arrested in Belgium on suspicion of kidnapping and murder.
More thorough procedure in Belgium
For Jef Vermassen, a well-known Belgian lawyer who will represent Dean’s mother, it is “a good thing” that the trial will not take place in the Netherlands, but in Belgium.
“The Netherlands does not have the Court of Assizes, and the trials are done in a very short time there,” he said on VTM News on Tuesday evening. “The thoroughness of the procedure before the Court of Assizes is important and the accused is also fully investigated there.”
Additionally, the punishments for these kinds of cases are reportedly also much lower in the Netherlands than in Belgium, Vermassen said.
In 2010, De Kock was already sentenced to ten years in prison for the inhumane treatment of his two-year-old stepson, resulting in the little boy’s death.