Today, it is 8 years ago that I got the phone call from my other sister. Eline is dead.
For 8 years, we were told by the Dutch police and public attorney (including Helga Krekels, Bert Spoelstra, Emma Oelmeijer-Naus, Renske Hamming, Annemarie Penn-te Strake, George Rasker, en Olav Beckers) that Eline committed suicide. Her boyfriend had witnessed how she stabbed herself in the chest. All the evidence gathered at the time supported their conclusion. This is what they repeatedly told us.
For 8 years, we doubted their version. With the evidence we had seen, with the evidence we had gathered, their “strong” case seemed poorly supported by evidence.
For 8 years, we pushed the Dutch public attorney to start a new investigation into the death of Eline.
For 8 years, the Dutch public attorney either blew us off, or told us that they thoroughly investigated Eline’s death. Only 1 conclusion could be drawn: Eline committed suicide. So the Dutch public attorney told us. Over and over and over again.
Finally the Dutch public attorney gave in and did a few DNA tests. I guess their thorough investigation wasn’t so thorough as they always told us. In my view, the results of these DNA tests were not convincing to support either a conclusion of suicide or another cause of death. Yet, the Dutch public attorney was adamant it fully supported their case that Eline stabbed herself. This left us with only one option. We had to go to court and ask a judge to force the Dutch public attorney to prosecute the boyfriend via what is called an Article 12 procedure. The only route victims have to get justice when the Dutch police and public attorney fail to provide this. A route where we must provide evidence that legally questions the case of police and public attorney, who have a virtually unlimited budget and plenty of personal to investigate.
For 8 years, we were told Eline committed suicide. Together with our lawyer Wendy van Egmond, we presented our case to the court. During this process we were helped by a new Dutch tv program called “Moord of Zelfmoord” (“Homicide or Suicide”). For several Dutch journalists and lawyers it became clear that too many so-called suicides were questioned by their loved ones. Why is this the case? Is it because their suspicion of foul play is correct or is it because the Dutch police and public attorney treat suicide cases with disdain and arrogance?
For 8 years, the Dutch public attorney wouldn’t budge. They stuck to their guns in the court room. Nevertheless, the court looked at the evidence and came to the conclusion that suicide was not the obvious and only scenario. We won the Article 12 procedure. The Dutch public attorney must re-investigate Eline’s death and prosecute the boyfriend as stipulated by law.
For 8 years, the many mistakes made by the Dutch police and public attorney were silenced by the very same people.
For 8 years, we were forced to fight for Eline.
For 8 years, the Dutch police and public attorney lied to us.
For 8 years, we were told we were wrong.
For 8 years, we fought.
For 8 years, we fought hard.
For 8 years, Eline was portrayed as a psychotic lunatic. Who was out to kill herself.
For 8 years, the Dutch public attorney did what they could to make us doubt ourselves. Doubt Eline. Doubt all the evidence we gathered. Doubt who we were.
Now, after 8 years, we have to learn to live with a new reality. One I am still not sure what to make of.
Now, after 8 years, we are where we should have been on December 8th, 2009.
Now, after 8 years, we can finally start to process what happened to Eline. What happened to us and what the Dutch public attorney did to us … for 8 long years!
Now, after 8 years, Eline has to be taken serious.
Now, after 8 years, Eline will get her justice.