The Murder of Nicole Van Den Hurk: How Her Loyal Brother Got Justice
The 15-year-old’s case was being forgotten, so Andy Van Den Hurk gambled his own freedom to find her killer.
When 15-year-old Nicole Van Den Hurk was murdered in the Netherlands in 1995, her family hoped police would act quickly to find the culprit and bring them to justice. However, as the years went by and leads dried up, they began to fear the schoolgirl’s memory was fading and the killer would never be caught.
But Nicole’s stepbrother Andy knew new technology could help investigators solve the murder mystery — and he had one heck of a risky plan to prove it. This is the remarkable story of how a brother’s enduring loyalty put a dangerous criminal behind bars.
It was October 6th 1995, and Nicole Van Den Hurk had stayed the night at her grandmother’s before cycling to work at a nearby shopping centre. Perhaps she was a little on edge that morning, as she had complained to her aunt just a day earlier that an unnamed man had harassed her on her way home.
Nevertheless, the teenager dutifully set off to her job — but she never arrived. The police were swiftly called, and Nicole’s bicycle was located discarded by a river that evening. There was still no trace of Nicole herself, and an intensive search began to locate the youngster.
It wasn’t until November 22nd 1995 that a walker made a tragic discovery in the woods between Mierlo and Lierop: Nicole’s body. She had been raped, and an autopsy concluded she had suffered a fractured jaw, injuries to her head and fingers, and a stab wound from a small knife that had likely been fatal.
An investigation going nowhere
The Dutch authorities struggled to find any leads, and they arrested Nicole’s stepfather and stepbrother Andy Van Den Hurk in the summer of 1996. However, the move seems to have been an act of desperation, as they were quickly cleared of any wrongdoing and swiftly released.
To add insult to injury, the number of detectives working Nicole’s case was cut and, apart from a brief review in 2004, slowly went cold.