How a 1991 murder connected me to Peter R de Vries

This is probably my most personal blog. I will not mention the names of the people involved, but I don’t think knowing the names is actually relevant.

On June 13.1991 the partially covered body of 18 year old Jessica R was found near a dump in Bergen op Zoom, in the province of Noord Brabant in the south of the Netherlands. The young girl had been murdered on the 12th of June.

At that stage I had never heard of any of the people in relation to this story. The name Peter R de Vries did ring a bell because of the kidnap case of Freddy Heineken, but that was about it.

The following day on June 14,1991 I was actually at my mother’s wedding.

She married my stepfather that day.

Fast forward to 1996 . Peter R de Vries covers the case of Jessica on his TV show. A reconstruction is shown, and also some witnesses are interviewed. One witness says she knows who killed Jessica. She describes a man, and jokingly I tell me wife that this sound like a person we both know.

A few weeks later we get a call from the Noord Brabant Police force, they wanted to have a chat with us. The following day, 2 investigators call to our apartment. Obviously we knew it was serious, the 2 cops had to drive close to 2 hours to get to us. They advised us they arrested a man ,who was very near and dear to us, in relation to the Jessica R case. The irony is, it was the man I jokingly had referred to while watching the Peter R de Vries show. The cops asked us about the man, what kind of man he was. We both said he wouldn’t harm a fly leave alone brutally murder a girl.

After a few weeks he was released because the DNA proved it wasn’t him. However this ordeal had a major impact on his life, and a few years later he died of a heart attack, he was still a young man when he died.

The witness who had identified him as a suspect in the show, was an ex girlfriend of him, who had a grudge to bear.

I sent Peter R de Vries an email afterwards and told him the Jessica R case had claimed a second victim, our friend who was also a member of the family. I told Peter that his researchers messed up and believed the words of a vindictive ex girlfriend.

To be honest I didn’t think anything would come from my email. However to my surprise, during a business trip in Munich, I received a call from Peter. We had a good and frank chat about the case which lasted for about 30 minutes or so.

A few weeks later he also wrote an apology to the family in Panorama magazine, a Dutch current affair magazine.

Apparently there had been several suspects in the case, including the Father and Brother of Jessica R.

The killer was eventually caught in 2003 and was sentenced in 2004.

My connection with Peter R de Vries did not stop there. In 2005 one of my cousins was murdered, and although the Police know who is responsible for the murder, they have no evidence and no arrest has been made as of yet.

In May 2008 I emailed Peter and asked him if he could have a look at the case. He contacted me a few weeks later and told me he would look into the murder of my cousin.

Alas there was not much he could do because of some judicial and legal technicalities. But he did do as much as he could and as far as I am aware his team kept an eye on the case until quite recently.

Peter R de Vries, 64, was shot on Tuesday, July 6, after leaving a TV studio in Amsterdam. Three men were arrested, but police say one is no longer a suspect.

Peter R de Vries died of his injuries July 15.

Rust in Vrede Peter.

Rest in Peace.

My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

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