“Did it from the heart”: the Netherlands mourns after the death of a journalist

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“Did it from the heart”: the Netherlands mourns after the death of a journalist


The murder of famous Dutch criminal journalist Peter R de Vries left the Netherlands in anger and disbelief on Thursday.
De Vries’ family announced his death after being shot several times last week. He had just finished recording a TV show on RTL Boulevard in Amsterdam and has fought for his life in hospital ever since.

“Peter fought to the end, but couldn’t win the battle,” his relatives said in a statement. “Pierre lived according to the belief:” On your knees, it is not a way to be free “. We are inexpressibly proud of him and at the same time inconsolable.

After the news of de Vries’ death was announced, many people gathered at the Amsterdam bombing site to lay flowers, talk and seek comfort.

In an interview, RTL’s program director Peter van der Vorst said the news came as a huge shock. “Against our better judgment, we were hoping for a miracle last week,” he said.

“Fear of nothing or anyone”

The criminal journalist was well known in the Netherlands for his passion for unsolved crimes and his unconditional support for the families of loved ones whose cases of murder or disappearance have never been clarified.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the news touched him deeply.

“Peter R de Vries has always been devoted, tenacious, not afraid of anything or anyone. Always in search of truth and in defense of justice. And, consequently, it is all the more dramatic since he himself has today become the victim of a great injustice.

“We owe it to Peter R de Vries to ensure that justice takes its course. We can and never will tolerate this in the Netherlands. We will do all we can to fight crime by any means possible. This cowardly act must not go unpunished.

People bring flowers for murdered Dutch criminal journalist Peter R de Vries at Lange Leidsedwarsstraat in central Amsterdam [Evert Elzinga/ANP via AFP]

During his lifetime, Peter R de Vries investigated more than 500 murders and played a central role in the resolution of various unsolved cases.

He was known to be of great support to the relatives of those whose disappearances or murder cases had never been resolved. In addition to being a journalist specializing in crime, he also fought for the release of people he believed to be imprisoned for crimes they had never committed.

According to Jan Struijs, president of the Dutch Police Association, de Vries has played an influential role in improving the work of the police. “It’s partly because of him that we now have a team of old cases and cold cases in every police unit in the country,” he said.

« Pointe d’or »

One of the cold cases that de Vries was trying to solve was the disappearance of Tanja Groen, a student who has been missing since 1993.

Recently, de Vries started a foundation with the aim of raising one million euros ($ 1.1 million) to reward the “golden tip” that led to answers about his disappearance.

Earlier this week, de Vries’ son Royce and daughter Kelly thanked everyone for their support during these trying times and said it was Peter’s dream to solve this case.

“Let’s try to make this dream come true,” Royce said.

The criminal journalist was well known in the Netherlands for his passion for unsolved crimes [Ramon van Flymen/AFP]

On Wednesday, board member Simon Vuyk announced that the million euros target had been exceeded. “It means so much in light of what happened to Peter,” he said.

De Vries was a regular talk show guest who didn’t mince words. With a certain vanity, a distinctive nasal voice and a serious facial expression, he dared to challenge the nation’s biggest criminals.

In an interview, fellow criminal journalist Mick van Wely said: “Peter didn’t just tackle famous cases. He also worked on stories about the murder of a prostitute, for example. This characterizes Pierre. He did it with the heart.

Concerns expressed

Thomas Bruning, general secretary of the Dutch journalists’ union, NVJ, said de Vries was a “journalist and a tireless fighter for justice. An example for many.

The motive for the shooting remains unknown. For now, two suspects are in custody.

De Vries announced last year that he would support the prosecution witness in the Marengo trial, one of the largest and best-watched Dutch criminal cases in history, in which 17 murder suspects or of attempted murders are on trial.

Several colleagues, including van Wely, shared their concerns with de Vries after his announcement, fearing for his safety.

Dutch Acting Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus announced on Thursday that he had ordered an independent investigation into de Vries’ safety.



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