Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Marc Dutroux, A Pedophile and Child-Killer

Police Faulted

Marc Dutroux in police custody
Marc Dutroux in police custody

During April of 1997, a parliamentary committee investigating the handling of the Dutroux case said that the young girls who were murdered might have been alive today, if the police had not made so many mistakes during the investigation into the pedophile ring. The committee further recommended that Brussels prosecutor Benoit Dejemeppe be dismissed because he failed to do his job properly. Other officials were found responsible for the deaths of the girls. Investigators were charged with ignoring warnings by informants during a crucial stage during the investigation, mistreating the parents of the victims and failing to pass on vital information between prosecutors and police. Moreover, the report called for, "an overhaul of Belgium's police, replacing the current three services — the local police, judicial police and the national gendarmerie — with one local and one national service." Further details concerning the hearings, including suggested government reforms, were listed in a report of over 300 pages, which was handed out to party leaders.

Jean-Michel Nihoul, mugshot
Jean-Michel Nihoul, mugshot

The police department suffered further humiliation when in April, 1998 Marc Dutroux overpowered a police officer that was guarding him, and escaped for three hours. The prison, incredibly enough, had allowed Dutroux to leave the building to consult files that would be used in his upcoming trial. While on one of his leaves, he struggled with a guard, stealing his gun in the process and finally taking off in a stolen car. Dutroux was eventually captured and he was no longer permitted to prepare for his trial outside of the prison. Dutroux's escape prompted the resignation of three officials, Belgium's State Police Chief, Lt. Gen. Willy Deridder, and the justice and interior ministers. It would be another month before the government and opposition parties would finally agree to the restructuring of the police and justice system.

Dutroux and his accomplices were scheduled for trial in 2000 for deaths of the four girls and the pedophile ring operation.

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