Motives for family tragedies still unknown

25th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

25 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — As family, friends and schools try and come to terms with their grief, mystery still surrounds the motive of two family tragedies.

25 April 2005

AMSTERDAM — As family, friends and schools try and come to terms with their grief, mystery still surrounds the motive of two family tragedies.

Police and prosecution officials were busy over the weekend investigating the murder of a 31-year-old Zoetermeer woman and her two daughters, aged three and five.

Their bodies were found along a forest trail in the recreation reserve 't Zand, located in Alphen-Chaam in the province of Brabant last week.

Police arrested on 21 April the husband and father of the murdered victims. He confessed to police late last week that he'd killed them on 6 April.

Pupils of the Catholic school De Spelevaert — where one of the murdered daughters attended — were offered professional support by victim assistance workers on Monday. Parents and pupils have expressed a variety of shock and sadness.

However, many parents are confident the school will handle the situation well, given the fact it has experience with such a tragedy.

In January, a six-year-old pupil of the Zoetermeer school was killed, along with her three-year-old brother, by their mother. The woman then killed herself by jumping in front of a train.

And after news of the latest murders broke, a meeting was held at the school on Saturday for classmates of the five-year-old victim. Parents and teachers also attended the gathering.

The murdered woman, Claudia H. had been a teacher at the Catholic Maria Bernadetteschool in Leidschendam since 1997. She was an ICT co-ordinator.

The director of that school was shaken by the news of the murders, describing Claudia's husband and confessed killer as a "quiet, retiring man". Richard H. worked in the ICT industry.

The Zoetermeer City council opened a condolence register on Monday. Mayor Jan Waaijer earlier said: "It tears your heart. Three lives that were brutally and prematurely ended".

The Zoetermeer murders come after a traffic officer with the national police force KLPD shot his wife and three sons before turning his service pistol on himself at the family's Hilversum home on 15 April.

Almost 200 pupils of the Hilversum Montessorischool Zuid bid farewell to the three murdered boys, aged three, six and eight, on Saturday.

The funeral progression stopped on route from the Emmauskerk at the school where the children silently released light blue balloons into the sky.

The family was later buried together at the Catholic cemetery Begraafplaats St. Barbara.

Police have released very few details about the possible motive for the murder-suicide, saying only that "a complex of factors" in the "private life" contributed to the tragedy.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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