The 25-year-old Dutch woman who, together with her Belgian boyfriend, is suspected of kidnapping and murdering toddler Dean, is one of the last people to have seen the boy alive, her lawyer confirms to this site. Romy W. continues to maintain that she has nothing to do with Dean’s violent death, according to Bart De Decker.
Romy W. was arrested Monday evening, around the same time that Dean was found in the province of Zeeland. She has “a crushing sense of responsibility” according to her lawyer that she was probably the last person to see Dean alive. “She was just not aware of the suspect’s intentions. If she was, she could have done something about it. Now she constantly walks around with a feeling of guilt that she could or should have done things differently.”
The lawyer cannot tell too much about what exactly happened that weekend. “There have been many leaks in the investigation, and it is important not to further compromise the secrecy of the investigation. My client also has thousands of threats and that is very heavy to carry. Caution is certainly advised now.”
W. is “shocked and stunned” by the toddler’s death because “she also bonded with Dean.” According to her lawyer, she will cooperate with the investigation to bring to light what exactly happened. Hair childhood friends in the Dutch border village of Sint Jansteen react in any case bewildered to the events. “I saw the blurry photo and immediately knew what time it was,” says one of her childhood friends. ,,We went out during that period, we used to have a lot of fun together as teenagers. Romy was introverted, but very sweet and available. Just a good friend. Only she was also easily influenced by others.”
W. has struggled with a drinking addiction in recent years, sources in her area say. “In the long run you didn’t know which Romy you would meet. When she had drunk, there was no longer a conversation to be had. And it was always drama. After a while the bucket overflowed, and other friends and myself have distanced ourselves from her a bit. We never knew Dave.”
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It is still unclear whether the Dutch had an active part in the death of the 4-year-old boy. Dean was staying with her and her boyfriend in Sint-Gillis-Waas, a few kilometers from the border with Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, when he was last seen alive.
According to Dean’s mother, W. lied to her when she asked where her son, whom she had long expected back, was. Dave De K. had meanwhile left for the Netherlands with Dean. According to Belgian media, the police are taking serious account of the fact that Dean has already been killed in Belgium.
The 25-year-old W. will remain in custody for the time being, the council chamber in Dendermonde determined today. The charges of kidnapping and murder do not mean that there is hard evidence against the woman. It often happens that the examining magistrate takes a more serious classification as murder and later downgrades it to, for example, manslaughter or complicity.
W.’s friend, Dave De K., has been placed in so-called surrender detention. He has not agreed to surrender to Belgium. Next Friday the council chamber of the Amsterdam court will review the decision of the public prosecutor. The court then decides whether the man remains in extradition detention.
Twenty tips after calling camera images in the Dean case
The call for CCTV footage of Dean’s kidnapping and death has resulted in twenty tips, police said. The banner campaign, in which the search message is brought to the attention of the public via an advertisement on the internet, will be continued on Friday in the municipalities of Middelburg, Veere and Vlissingen.
The police reported on Thursday that they were looking for the camera images, including the banner campaign. The twenty tips are in addition to the more than a hundred reports that the police have received since the police investigation into the missing child started. According to the police, the recent tips include reports with camera images and suggestions where camera images may be available. The police also received reports of passers-by who had been on the Oosterscheldekering.
The police show a high degree of involvement. “People are willing to think along and share information. The police thanks everyone for this. Any tip could be of great importance to the police investigation.”
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