Investigation into Brabant Killers shut down

After 40 years, the investigation into the Brabant Killers will officially be closed. There is no time limit on trying the crimes, so the investigation can be reopened if new facts emerge.

In the 1980s, a gang of criminals terrorised Belgium with a series of murders and violent robberies across the country. Dubbed the Brabant Killers - Bende van Nijvel in Dutch or Tueurs du Brabant in French - they murdered 28 people and injured more than 40, until they disappeared overnight.

To this day, the motives of the group remain unclear and the members unknown. In 40 years of investigations, no one has been caught or convicted, even after the Belgian federal prosecutor's office took up the case in 2018. The office has therefore decided to close the investigation.

New screening of old tip-offs, a large-scale DNA search - the technique did not exist during the original investigation - and even the exhumation of some 40 bodies led to nothing. The options for further investigation had been exhausted, the federal prosecutor's office said: "This is not the message we wanted to convey, but we cannot but conclude that no further acts of investigation can be made in the case."

Relatives have already been informed of the justice department's decision and can still object. If new facts emerge, the case can be reopened: Belgian law makes an exception for the acts of the Brabant Killers, meaning there is no statute of limitations.


Photo from 27 September 1985 shows Delhaize supermarket in Overijse after a hold up by the Brabant Killers © BELGA PHOTO HERWIG VERGULT SPECIAL DPA/BILD

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