Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marleen Konings: The Missing Dutch Girl

Bits and Pieces

Map of Swellendam
Map of Swellendam

On January 8, 2004, vacationers discovered a deserted handbag on a trout farm in the vicinity of Uniondale. Inside were some clothes and documents, seeming to belong to Marleen Konings. When police learned of this, a search was organized. On Sunday, January 11, they found some clothes, including underwear, in a ravine about 164 ft from the road. This discovery, some 187 miles east of Swellendam, was disconcerting to the investigating team.

On Monday an identikit of Rob Cowley was released to the press. The owner of the Wimpy fast food restaurant in Oudtshoorn, 140 miles east of Swellendam and 58 miles north of Mossel Bay, contacted the police. He said that both he and his wife recognized the man in the identikit and the photo of Marleen as a couple who had eaten in their restaurant on January 6. The two had appeared to be involved in a serious conversation at times. According to the Cape Times of January 15, 2004, the restaurant owner said that the man "looked nervous and I thought he was not happy with the service at first. He is one of those kinds of guys you just don't like. There was something funny about him and he looked like a second-hand car salesman." Apparently the girl looked at the waitress "as if she was looking for help" or simply stared out in front of her. The man also kept looking around.

On January 13, a silver Toyota Tazz, believed to be the one hired by Marleen, was recovered near Colesberg. Colesberg is 200 miles northeast of Beaufort West, which is in turn a good 215 miles northeast of Oudtshoorn. It was indeed Marleen's hired car, and forensic experts converged on the scene to initiate a close scrutiny of the vehicle. They found no traces of blood or any other evidence of foul play.

Suspect Identikit Sketch
Suspect Identikit Sketch

The next day a detective arrived from Holland to assist in the search. He was just in time for the first major breakthrough.

 

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