THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch court convicted a man Friday of sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy and depriving him of his liberty leading to his death more than 20 years ago, but acquitted him of deliberately killing the boy.
The court in the southern city of Maastricht sentenced 58-year-old Jos Brech to 12-and-a-half years' imprisonment.
Brech, an outdoor survival expert, was arrested in Spain in August 2018 after tests established that his DNA was on the body of Nicky Verstappen, who disappeared in August 1998 from a summer camp in the southern Netherlands and was found dead nearby a day later.
The long-unsolved case gripped the Netherlands, and in early 2018, police carried out DNA tests on some 21,500 men in an attempt to identify a suspect.
The court said in a statement that there was insufficient evidence to prove that Brech intended to kill Verstappen, but added that: “Without the actions of the suspect, Nicky Verstappen would still have been alive on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 1998, at 8:50 p.m. The actions of the suspect thus led to the death of Nicky,”
It said Verstappen died from a lack of oxygen, likely from being restrained by Brech.
A day after Verstappen went missing, Brech was stopped by military police close to the scene.
Brech's family reported him missing in April 2018 when he did not return home from an overseas trip. He was eventually captured by Spanish police in August of that year in a rural area near Barcelona.
Dutch media reported that Brech's lawyer said he would appeal the convictions.