The police in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium teamed up with Interpol to try and identify 22 women found murdered in the three countries over the years. Nine of the cold cases involve bodies found in the Netherlands. One victim was found in Belgium, close to the Dutch border.
“Most of the 22 victims died violently, and some were also abused or starved before they died,” said Carina van Leeuwen and Martin de Wit of the Dutch police. “Partly because the women are likely from countries other than where they were found, their identities have not yet been established. It is possible that their bodies were left in our countries to impede the criminal investigation.”
“We want to stress that we are looking for names,” said Carolien Opdecam of the Belgian police. “The victim’s identity is often the key to unlocking the mysteries of a case.”
Operation Identify Me reveals details of each case, showing facial reconstructions of some of the murdered women and videos and photos of items like jewelry and clothing discovered with the victims’ remains. Leading actresses, singers, and athletes from the participating countries are supporting the initiative.
The nine women found dead in the Netherlands died between 1976 and 2005. The oldest case is the “Heulmeijsje.” Hikers found the young woman’s body hidden under some earth and branches near De Heul parking lot next to the A12 highway on 24 October 1976.
The most recent case in the Netherlands is “the woman in the suitcase.” In the autumn of 2005, a red suitcase lay abandoned for some time in the Thorbeckesingle, in the middle of a residential area in Schiedam. When a municipal employee went to remove the suitcase, he found the body of a young woman inside.
Information about the cases in the Netherlands can be found here and about all the cases here. The police appeal to anyone with information that can help identify any of these women to come forward.