The mystery of the 22 dead women: Belgium, Holland and Germany try to find out who they are

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The police authorities of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, in collaboration with Interpol, launched this Wednesday the “Identify me” campaign to try to identify the 22 bodies of women, all victims of violence, found between 1991 and last year and which they have never been able to identify.

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The police agencies of the three countries have been working on a joint project for months, in the belief that expanding investigations beyond the national framework will give them a better chance of success. In the announcement they explain that “nobody knows who they are, where they come from and why they were in Belgium, the Netherlands or Germany, in some cases many years ago. But they were all victims of violence.

the 22 women they have in common the fact that they died from violent acts. Their bodies have been found burned, tortured, naked, submerged in cisterns or water channels, often in a state of decomposition. But they all have something that could be used to identify them: flashy false nails, remnants of clothing, tattoos or false teeth.

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Belgium has spent years tracking down people who they were buried unidentified at a time when DNA analysis has not been done to try and identify them now. This is how he managed to discover last year that the body of a woman who had been buried without a name was that of a young woman who disappeared in the Netherlands.

Actress Carice Van Houten is part of the campaign to try to identify the victims.  AP Photo

Actress Carice Van Houten is part of the campaign to try to identify the victims. AP Photo

The cases

The website dedicated to the campaign and launched by Interpol with the information available in the Belgian, Dutch and German police archives seeks to give visibility to these cases, some up to 40 years old and other recent ones such as the half-burned body that an elderly woman found while walking in the Parc de Cointe, in the Belgian city of Liège.

She was a woman of African descent, between 35 and 45 years old, still wearing a button-up cardigan with the HCC badge. She had been dead for at least two months. and her body had been burned there, though it is not known whether she too died there or was moved there to be burned. In cases like this, the most the police can do is make a rough portrait of the robot from the facial remains. No one has ever claimed it.

The bell is supported by messages from famous women in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, such as the Belgian singer Axelle Red, the Dutch actress Carice Van Houten (Melisandre from Game of Thrones), the German sports journalism star Katrin Müller-Hohenstein, the Belgian actress Veerle Baetens or the Dutch rapper Stien (S10).

There will also be messages in the media and on social networks to try to reach the largest possible audience, so that someone somewhere recognizes one of these women.


Of the 22 bodies, seven were found in Belgium. Some with significant features such as that of the woman found on 3 June 1992 at a water pumping station near Deurne and on whose left forearm he had a black flower and the words ‘R’Nick’ tattooed.

Or that of the young woman found on May 31, 2009 in the Albert Canal, with false nails with drawings and her body submerged with the help of two gymnastic weights of five kilos each.

On the Interpol website there is information on how to contact the police forces of the three countries in case of information on any of the women.

Source: Clarin

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