Shortly after Talitha’s death on April 17th, 2013, the police and public attorney concluded that she must have committed suicide. She was hit by a train. A not uncommon method of committing suicide. One police officer claimed to have found a note in her pocket detailing train schedules and the route from the nearby Heerhugowaard train station to the location where she was found. Obvious conclusion: suicide. Case closed.
Talitha’s family did not share the conviction of the public attorney’s office, so they decided to take on the public attorney with their lawyer Sébas Diekstra. Various letter to the public attorney were initially futile, but this did not stop them. They moved their objections up the ranks to the head of the public attorney’s office of Noord Holland, Bob Steensma. Shortly after contacting Steensma, they pressed charges against the police officer who claimed to have found that damning note for perjury. The family has that particular note in their possession and what they see on the note does not correspond to the claims of the police officer.
Recently Talitha’s family received a letter from the Steensma, where Steensma, in name of the public attorney’s office, offers his apologies. The public attorney who was in charge of the case should not have made the conclusion as swift as he did. “Based on the findings the public attorney should have concluded that the investigation lacked the indications that point to a crime and that there are not enough indications to point to a possible suspect.”
A year and half of fighting by Talitha’s family paid off. I am glad for them. Of course it does not bring back Talitha, but it takes away the wrongful conclusion that was forced upon by the authorities. By admitting having made a wrongful conclusion, the public attorney Bob Steensma shows maturity. On Monday January 12th, we will learn what the public attorney in Maastricht has concluded from reviewing Eline’s case.