The most wanted sexual predator from the Netherlands was arrested in a small commune outside Barcelona this weekend past.
Joseph Theresia Johannnes Brech was wanted for the rape and murder of a young boy 20 years ago at a summer camp where Brech had been working as a monitor.
The suspect’s name had been splashed across the Dutch media a few days earlier after a DNA test identified him as the suspect. The police processed the DNA of 21,500 men to see if any of them matched that of the person who had kidnapped, raped and murdered 11-year-old Nicky Verstappen between the 9th and 10th of August, 1998.
The body of the child was located in a small pine copse and the only clue that the Dutch police had to go on was the DNA that the culprit had left behind. The trouble was, they couldn’t legally compare it with those suspected of the crime, especially the prime suspect, Brech, who had been investigated in 1985 over an act of sexual aggression.
However, the 21,500 volunteers, amongst them relatives of Brech, allowed them to identify his DNA and match it to the DNA left at the crime scene.
Having identified him as the aggressor, they were left with the problem that they had no idea where he was living because he had disappeared off the radar in February this year, fearing that the net was closing on him.
In the meantime, Brech had become a bush crafter; i.e., a survival expert, able to survive in the wilds. He is an outdoor man who had climbed Mount Everest and completed expeditions to the highlands of India.
For this reason the police suspected that he might be on the move in the less densely populated areas of Europe, working in exchange for food. In fact, once captured he confessed to the police that he had been in Spain since March.
As mentioned above and out of desperation, the police had decided to broadcast his photograph on social and traditional media sources last Wednesday. As a result, during last weekend alone they had received 1,500 supposed sightings of the fugitive. All it took was one of them to be true, which is what happened.
A fellow Dutchman, 46-year-old Erik, had positively identified him because he had been chatting with him in July this year in the said commune in Castellterçol. Erik contacted the Dutch police who in turn contacted the Spanish Ministry of the Interior on Saturday the 25th.
Undercover policemen located the suspect and positively identified him before arresting him the next day. Extradition proceedings have begun.
(News: Barcelona, Cataluña)