When 15-year-old Nicole Van Den Hurk was k*illed in the Netherlands in 1995, her family hoped police would move quickly to find the ki*ller and bring them to justice. But as time went on and leads dried up, they started to worry that the schoolgirl’s memory was getting worse and that the k*iller would never be found.
But Andy, Nicole’s stepbrother, knew that new technology could help solve the murder mystery, and he had a very risky plan to show it. This is an amazing story about how the loyalty of a brother helped put a dangerous criminal in jail.
Nicole Van Den Hurk had spent the night at her grandmother’s house on October 6, 1995. The next day, she rode her bike to work at a nearby shopping center. She might have been a little on edge that morning because she had just told her aunt that an unnamed man had been bothering her on her way home the day before.
Still, the teen did her best to get to her job, but she never got there. The police were called right away, and Nicole’s bike was found by a river that night. There was still no sign of Nicole, so a serious search was started to find her.
On November 22, 1995, a walker found Nicole’s body in the woods between Mierlo and Lierop. This was a sad event. She had been ra*ped, and an autopsy showed that she had broken her jaw, hurt her head and fingers, and stabbed herself with a small knife, which probably k*illed her.
The Dutch police had a hard time getting any leads, so in the summer of 1996, they arrested Nicole’s stepfather and stepbrother Andy Van Den Hurk. But it looks like they did it out of desperation, since they were quickly cleared of any wrongdoing and let go right away.
To make matters worse, the number of detectives working on Nicole’s case was cut, and the case slowly went cold after a brief review in 2004.
Andy moved to England in 2011 to start a new life, but he was still upset that the person who k*illed his sister got away with it. Also, he must have known that if new DNA techniques had been around in 1995, the person who did it would probably already be in jail.
A gamble — that paid off
So, Andy came up with a way to get the investigation going again. Nicole had been buried in the Netherlands not long after she was ki*lled, and he knew that if no new evidence came up, she would stay there, along with any valuable DNA evidence.
So, the caring stepbrother made a new lead by turning himself in to Stevenage Police on March 8, 2011 and getting himself re-arrested.
In a post on his Facebook page, he said, “I will be arrested today for the mu*rder of my sister. I admitted it. Will talk to you soon.”
Investigators were baffled, and Dutch police started the extradition process even though they didn’t know if Andy was to blame or not. When Andy went back to the Netherlands, it was clear that he was still innocent, so he was freed again.
But the plan worked. The police agreed to reopen the case and see if Nicole’s body still had any DNA evidence on it.
When asked why he lied, Andy said, “I wanted to get her body dug up and get DNA from it.” I kind of put myself in a bad position, and things could have gone terribly wrong. To get her body dug up, I had to take steps…and say I did it. My sister is her. Every day, I miss her.”
The real culprit is caught
When the remains of Nicole were looked at for genetic material, scientists in New Zealand were able to use cutting-edge methods to find DNA from three different men. The first wasn’t even a suspect: Nicole’s boyfriend.
The second one came from an unknown profile, and the third one came from a convicted ra*pist named Jos de G. In the Netherlands, suspects are not given their full names. By this time, the 46-year-old had been found guilty of r*ape three times. In 2001, he was forced to get treatment for his mental illness.
That case was eerily similar to Nicole’s. The young woman had been taken from her bike, taken to a remote area, and sexually assaulted. He didn’t kil*l her, so that was the only difference.
NL Times said that De G’s psychological evaluation from the time said he was “a vessel overflowing with hate” who could hurt people again if he wasn’t “adequately addressed.” Also, it was known that the suspect had a fight with his ex-girlfriend the day Nicole went missing. He stormed out of her house just a few hours before she was taken.
Police in the Netherlands caught De G and charged him with r*ape and m*urder, but the fight for justice wasn’t over yet. On November 21, 2016, he was shockingly found guilty of r*ape but not mu*rder. The prison time was only five years.
The case in court
Even though the jury all agreed that De G rap*ed Nicole and didn’t believe his story (he said they might have had consensual sex, but he couldn’t remember), the fact that De G’s DNA wasn’t known was a sticking point.
They said that they had to think about the fact that someone else might have been involved in the mu*rder, so they couldn’t find De G guilty.
Nicole’s stepmother, Jolanda van der Weijden, cried and yelled in court: “What if this happened to your children?” She and the prosecution had been hoping for a 14-year sentence. This is just incredible!”
Appeal success — but a toll is taken
There was an appeal, and in the end, prosecutors were able to show the court that De G had r*aped and kil*led Nicole to keep her from telling the police what had happened. Importantly, the unidentified third piece of DNA, which could have come from anywhere, was not given any weight.
Jos de G was given a 12-year prison sentence in 2018 for r*aping and ki*lling Nicole Van Den Hurk more than 20 years after she was kil*led in a brutal way.
Even though he was brave enough to get Nicole’s case reopened and finally solved, news came out in 2021 that her stepbrother Andy had kil*led himself at his home in England.
His Facebook legacy page seems to back this up. His last post, on August 25, 2021, says, “I’m ready to say goodbye.”
This amazing and heartbreaking case shows how mu*rder and injustice can hurt the people left behind, even after the ki*ller is locked up.