A false confession, confusing DNA-samples and a real murderer; the case of Nicole van den Hurk

It is early in the morning on the 6th of October of 1995 when Nicole van de Hurk gets on her bike to go to work. The 15-year old girl is working a summer job in a supermarket in Woensel. She will never arrive there…

Nicole van den Hurk

Police get involved and start investigating Nicole’s disappearance. That same day, her bike is found next to the route she used to go to work. Her little backpack is found next to another road, on the 19th of October. Investigators have no idea where Nicole is and what happened to her.

On the 18th of October an anonymous letter is received by police. It contains a description and number plate of a car that was seen the morning of Nicole’s disappearance. Investigators cant find a connection to Nicole. They continue to search in the area between her home and work. Certain parts of Germany are also searched, as Nicole has family there. After multiple Dutch TV-programs show the disappearance of Nicole and the pleas of her family for any news, tips come flooding in. Her stepfather was well-known in the Netherlands, being a singer. He used his fame to talk about Nicole where and when he could. The family hired mediums to look for any sign of Nicole and help them understand what had happened to her. Unfortunately, these tips lead nowhere.

Dutch newspaper reporting that ‘mediums are en masse reporting tips about missing Nicole’.

Investigators claim they have strong evidence pointing to Nicole running away, although they do not exclude foul play at this moment. Her German grandma tells a reporter that she believes and hopes that Nicole has voluntarily left her home, and that she is ‘happy somewhere’. 

On the 22nd of november 1995, a body is found by a hiker in the woods between Mierlo and Lierop. Almost 7 weeks after her disappearance, the remains are identified as Nicole’s. She was raped and then killed. Her postmortem showed fractures to her jaw, injuries to her head and hands, and stab wounds. Her specific cause of death is unknown.

Flowers are left at the spot where Nicole was found (© Rob Engelaar / Novum)

Around the same time, a girl from Eindhoven is convicted of drug trafficking, in Miami (USA). She claims she was forced into smuggling because she knows who killed Nicole. Nicole’s stepfather tells reporters he knows this girl, and believes her story. In March of 1996, the ‘Miami girl’ is extradited to the Netherlands. Weeks later, investigators report that her story doesn’t give rise to new leads in the investigation of the murder of Nicole. In other words: ‘Miami girl’ is lying. 

On the 22nd of may of 1996, Andy van den Hurk, Nicole’s stepbrother, is arrested for involvement in the murder of his stepsister. Five days later, he is no longer declared a suspect and is released. Soon after this, on the 7th of June, Ad van den Hurk, Nicole’s stepfather is arrested in relation to her murder. He is also released 6 days later, and no longer a suspect according to police.

The case grows cold. Rumors keep lingering around Nicole’s stepfather and her stepbrother, even after police declared that both were not suspects in this case. People surrounding Ad van den Hurk claim he too is involved, being too obsessed with the media. When it’s later reported that Ad is not Nicole’s biological father and that Nicole’s mother (Ad’s previous wife) committed suicide a few months before Nicole’s disappearance, suspicions are raised. Ad van den Hurk himself declared to a journalist ‘Only God, Nicole and I know I did not do this‘.

Ad van den Hurk, Nicole’s stepfather

In March 2011, Andy, Nicole’s stepbrother, is arrested again and transported from England (where he then resided) to the Netherlands. He was arrested because… he posted a full confession that he was the one who killed Nicole. He was immediately arrested by British police and brought to the Netherlands. He repeated his confession of murdering Nicole to investigators. Other than his own confession, there was no other evidence pointing to Andy’s guilt. As a result, he was soon released from custody. Police later say they believe his confession was made when ‘drunk’.

Andy van den Hurk, Nicole’s stepbrother

After he was released, Andy claimed to media that he falsely confessed to bring new attention to the cold case and to get police to exhume Nicole’s body to examine it again for DNA. He was convinced that this was the only way to catch her killer. Andy also revealed that he suspected his father Ad to be guilty of murdering Nicole…

Although his methods to get there were … unconventional to say the least, Andy was correct in thinking DNA would lead to new evidence and point to Nicole’s killer. Her body was indeed exhumed and DNA evidence was collected from her and from evidence from the crime scene. This DNA was checked with a list of suspects and… a match was found. It did not match Ad or Andy, but it did match Jos de G.

Jos de G. was, at the moment of the DNA-match in 2014, already in a psychiatric treatment facility for criminals. He had been convicted of three rapes in the past and this time de G. was in this facility for compulsory treatment after the violent rape of another woman in 2000. The modus operandi of this rape (and his earlier ones) was eerily similar to Nicole’s case, as it involved girls on bikes, who were dragged off at knife point and raped. Due to the similarities in the cases and a very alert policeman who noticed them, Jos de G. was already on the suspect list for Nicole’s murder and therefore his DNA was tested. His DNA matched the semen sample and a hair found on Nicole’s jacket.

Court drawing of Jos de G. at trial

It took investigators two years to fully analyse the DNA samples found on Nicole and other evidence found. Results were inconclusive as they contained complex mixes of DNA profiles. But… the DNA samples did contain two clear DNA-profiles of two males: Jos de G and Nicole’s then-boyfriend. However, some ‘DNA-peaks’ were detected that did not match these two distinct profiles. They could be explained by either degradation or contamination of the samples or by a third (or more) contributor to the DNA-sample (read: another person at the crime scene).

Jos de G, who was 28 at the time of Nicole’s murder, was indicted with rape and manslaughter in 2016. At the trial, de G. first claimed to have never met Nicole. Due to the DNA-evidence, his lawyer later claimed that Nicole and Jos knew each other and they had had consensual sex before her death. Jos de G. says he can’t remember Nicole (and doesn’t recognize her face from a photo), but claims in court that he ‘was a ladies man‘ and lived a ‘dissolute life at that time‘, so that it could be possible that she was one of the girls he had had sex with.

De G. states that he did not kill Nicole. His lawyer argues that, due to the DNA evidence and the possibility of a third profile, another person could have killed Nicole.

Jos de G. testifying at his trial

In court, Ad van den Hurk gets the change to speak about the impact of Nicole’s murder on their family and loved ones. He talked about Nicole and the future he imagined for her, saying ‘Every day I wonder what she would look like, would she be married? Would she have children? Would she… Would she…?‘. About the consequences for their daily life, he says ‘ We have gone through a inhumane hell for 20 years. We have got a life time in prison. Without reduction of time or rehabilitation‘. Ad van den Hurk also asked Jos de G. to stop being a coward and to stand up and ‘claim responsibility. Say: Yes, I did it, it was my mistake’. Nicole’s stepmother and stepsister weren’t allowed to speak, due to being no legal (or blood) relation.

Just before sentencing, a new witness reported to court. They claimed that Jos de G. mentioned that he had killed a girl in the past, and the witness believed he was talking about Nicole. Eventually, Jos de G. was convicted in 2016 of the rape of Nicole, but not for manslaughter. The judge claimed there was not enough evidence to say without a doubt that Jos de G. was guilty of Nicole’s death, due to the unknown DNA-profile. Jos de G. was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.

The prosecution filed an appeal shortly after ending the first trial. In this 2018 appeal the judge agreed with the prosecution, and convicted Jos de G. of both rape and manslaughter. He was then sentenced to 12 years in prison. This sentence was appealed by de G., but was held up in the Supreme Court. He is currently still in prison.

What do you think about this horrifying case?


  1. https://nos.nl/artikel/2137301-na-21-jaar-komt-om-met-strafeis-in-moordzaak-nicole-van-den-hurk
  2. https://www.ed.nl/nicole-van-den-hurk/chronologisch-overzicht-moordzaak-nicole-van-den-hurk~ae14e0c3/?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Fhttps://www.omroepbrabant.nl/nieuws/2192622/de-losse-seksuele-moraal-van-jos-de-g-en-emoties-bij-nabestaanden-tijdens-zaak-nicole-van-den-hurk
  3. https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moord_op_Nicole_van_den_Hurk
  4. https://freshedits.com/trending/solved-dna-evidence-cracks-nicoles-case/
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_of_Nicole_van_den_Hurk
  6. https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/hoge-raad-bevestigt-jos-de-g-verkrachtte-en-doodde-nicole-van-den-hurk~bf2c71cb/?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

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