Citizen Investigation Collective Helps Police in Unsolved Murder Case

Police and the Public Prosecutor‘s Office will work closely with a civilian investigative collective to solve a 2013 murder case. The murder of 48-year-old Marja Nijholt, who was found dead in Oss on New Year’s Day, reports NRC. She had accused many people in the hours before her death and said she was afraid for her life.

The research collective, Bureau Dupin, is an initiative of former policeman, filmmaker and scientist Peter de Kock. He named the group after C. Auguste Dupin, an amateur detective with short stories by Edgar Allen Poe.

Bureau Dupin is going to investigate Nijholt‘s death itself, and about this is about to publish podcasts. โ€œThe big research we are going to do is see if we can improve the detection as a society. So the cooperation between police and citizensโ€, said De Kock in the CCEit Radio 1 Journal.

Detection Requested

โ€œ The police are actually used to working with civilians more often. They do this, for example, in programs like Discovery Requested.โ€ Contrary to the approach of this programme, De Kock wants to ask specific questions to the police, who will then, where possible, answer them. Bureau Dupin does not have access to the police file, but works with sources that are public.

The office also conducts talks with relatives of Nijholt. โ€œInterestingly, a lot of information comes out there,โ€ De Kock said. For example, these are different scenarios about the last day of Nijholt’s life about which relatives tell. โ€œThat would be something we could share with the police.โ€

Most knowledge outside the police

De Kock tells NRC that he was inspired by research collective Bellingcat, which investigated the MH17 disaster with the help of citizens. โ€œYou have to realize that most of the knowledge is outside the organization. So even though the police employ 60,000 people, the biggest source of knowledge is out there. We are out there,โ€ said De Kock on the radio.

Police say they see potential in working with a civilian collective. โ€œSometimes you have to dare to walk paths where you do not know in advance how they will run exactly. This makes our cooperation so valuable,โ€ says Stan Duijf, Head of Regional Information Organization of the East Brabant Police.