Overview of the Marianne Vaatstra case

In 1999, the then 16-year-old Marianne Vaatstra was raped and murdered in a meadow near Veenklooster on the night after Queen’s Day. Since then, justice and police have been searching for the perpetrator. For a long time it seemed that the murder would not be solved. The search for the perpetrator of the gruesome murder lasted no less than thirteen years. Thirteen years, three investigation teams and twelve arrested suspects later, the breakthrough came and the suspected perpetrator was arrested. Bauke Vaatstra, Marianne’s father, always knew that the perpetrator had to be someone from the neighborhood. He was right. Twice, in 2000 and 2012, the police took DNA from men from the area. The last time there was a 100% match with 45-year-old Jasper S., a resident of Oud Woude, a hamlet of 900 inhabitants near Zwaagwesteinde. He was arrested on November 18, 2012. A suspect whom the police and the judiciary expected to be the real perpetrator because a DNA test, even after a double check, identified the man in question.

Further research

However, experts said that the DNA match is not yet 100% proof. In the Netherlands, two pieces of evidence are needed to convict someone. This DNA match is just one piece of evidence. A criminal investigation will be conducted into a second piece of evidence. Without this second evidence or a confession, the man will not be brought to justice. Below is an overview from 1999.

May 1, 1999

The body of Marianne Vaatstra is found in a meadow near the village of Veenklooster. The day before was Queen’s Day and Marianne had celebrated with friends in a neighboring village in the evening. She went alone to her house in Zwaagwesteinde by bicycle.

May 28, 1999

A first arrest takes place. A fellow villager, then 32, was arrested as a suspect and released after a few days. A DNA test quickly proved his innocence.

August 1999

Two asylum seekers, an Iraqi and an Afghan, are arrested. At the time of the murder, they were staying in the De Poelpleats asylum seeker center near Kollum, which they left shortly after the murder. The two were arrested in Turkey and England, but DNA testing cleared them after a few days.

October 2000

The Public Prosecution Service does not give permission for a large-scale DNA test. The call for such research is great. About 20,000 men in Kollum and the surrounding area are said to have been asked to donate DNA material. Approximately 900 men still did so. But it doesn’t accomplish anything.

July 2001

The first investigation team stops work due to lack of progress.
In November 2001, a man was arrested and released the next day.

May 2002

A second investigation team starts a new investigation.

June 2002

The second investigation team presents the perpetrator profile. It is said to be a European, white perpetrator.

July 2003

The second investigation team is disbanded due to lack of results.

October 2006

Two former police officers are suspected. They turned out to be innocent after a DNA test.

October 2007

The third investigation team is formed. The 3D team continues team 2’s investigation.

The years between 2007 and 2012

Various police investigations yield no results. The Vaatstra family believes that the police and justice have failed.

April 2012

New legislation makes kinship research possible. Police and justice are organizing a new large-scale DNA test using a new method. This method was first applied to the Vaatstra case. The test will ideally refer to a family member of the perpetrator so that one gets closer to the perpetrator.

May 2012

Crime journalist Peter R. de Vries devotes a broadcast to the Vaatstra case. He comes up with spectacular material and shows that the perpetrator must come from the Vaatstra area. That is why De Vries advocates large-scale DNA research in the area.
The so-called 3D team also indicates that the perpetrator must have been an acquaintance of Vaatstra and probably lived in the area.

June 2012

The Public Prosecution Service wants to conduct a kinship investigation among men from the region. There are more and more indications that the perpetrator comes from the area.

September 2012

8,000 men are called up for the kinship investigation. 7,300 of them actually come to voluntarily donate their DNA.

November 18, 2012

In the evening, the suspected perpetrator is arrested at home. This suspect, a 45-year-old man from Oud Woude, is transferred to Leeuwarden. The man, Jasper S. has a farming business and is the father of two children. Jasper S. took part in the DNA test in September 2012, with results.

November 19, 2012

Early in the morning, Peter R. de Vries tweets that a 100 percent DNA match has been found with the DNA of the perpetrator. The arrest of the suspected perpetrator is therefore national news. Oud Woude is barely 2.5 kilometers from the place where Vaatstra was murdered.