The federal prosecutor‘s office in Belgium confirmed that the body found today belongs to the fugitive military Jürgen Conings. There is currently plenty of research in the Hoge Kempen National Park.
“The probable cause of death, according to the initial research results, would be suicide,” says the prosecutor’s office. Tonight and tomorrow morning, the former military‘s body will be examined by forensic experts. It is unclear how long Conings has been in the woods.
Around 150 people held a wake at Conings’s house tonight, in Dilsen near the border with the Netherlands:
Earlier today, the Mayor of Maaseik, Johan Tollenaere, announced that he had found Conings‘s body in the woods of the National Park. He found it during mountain biking in the park with a group of friends.
“I came somewhere in a piece where few people come and I immediately smelled a strong scent of corpse. Indeed, I immediately thought of Conings,” explains Tollenaere. He left for a trip with a group of friends this morning and smelled the body on a path where only mountain bikers come. He said he recognized the smell because he was once present in graveyard excavation work.
“I passed the coordinates to the police forces, which found the body just a few metres away.” The mayor said he didn’t see the body himself. He decided not to get any closer because he could smell the smell that the body was presumably in a distant state of decomposition. In order not to get in the way of the trace investigation, he decided to engage the police immediately. Tollenaere said he cycles regularly in the area.
Hunter: I knew it was him right away
46-year-old hunter Leonard Houben also says he found Conings‘s body in the park this morning. He said – just like Tollenaere – to have smoked the lifeless body and says he was the first to attend. “I didn’t know it was him,” Houben says, referring to Conings. “I thought it was a lot of wild.” Authorities have not yet said who found the body.
The military personnel stole weapons from a Defense depot last May. He had far-right sympathies and was suspected of a number of threats. He worked in Belgian defense since 1992.