Dutch Find Tycoon’s Body 7 Months After Abduction
Police found the buried body of kidnaped Dutch supermarket tycoon Gerrit-Jan Heijn seven months after his abduction, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said today.
Heijn, 56, was kidnaped last Sept. 9 and shot through the head the same day. His body was exhumed in a forest near the town of Renkum in the eastern Netherlands on the instructions of his suspected killer, who was arrested Wednesday, according to spokesman Theo Bot.
The discovery ended the longest-running kidnaping case in Dutch criminal history. The tycoon’s family had paid the kidnapers a $4 million ransom in a bid to win his release.
Heijn was vice president of Ahold, which owns the Netherlands’ largest chain of supermarkets as well as the Giant Food and Bi-Lo stores in the United States.
Architect, Kin Arrested
On Wednesday, authorities arrested a 45-year-old unemployed architect, identified only as Ferdi E., his wife and his three children, aged 17 to 25, at the suspect’s home in the village of Landsmeer, 10 miles north of Amsterdam.
According to Bot, the architect was found in possession of the murder weapon as well as a ransom worth more than $4.5 million paid for Heijn in a Nov. 27 drop.
Heijn was abducted while on his way to a dental appointment from his sprawling villa in Bloemendaal, an affluent suburb of Haarlem.
After the estimated $4 million in diamonds and cash was paid in November, nothing was heard from the kidnaped businessman or his abductors.
The case was marked by lengthy and fruitless negotiations between the Heijn family and the abductors via advertisements published in various national newspapers. Police imposed a news blackout at the request of the family only a few days after Heijn was kidnaped.
On Oct. 14, after Heijn’s relatives had demanded a sign of life from the victim, the abductors mailed what appeared to be his little finger. At the time, it could not be established whether Heijn had been alive or dead when the finger was cut from his hand.
A national news conference by police in late December triggered a flow of about 12,000 tips, and the suspect’s house was kept under surveillance by detective teams for six weeks. Early Wednesday morning, heavily armed police raided the house, surprising the family in their sleep.