The police and judiciary are not giving up in the search for the missing Germa van den Boom from Nieuwendijk. It has been 38 years since she disappeared without a trace, but tips are still coming in: in recent months even more than 200. The investigators seem to seize every opportunity to draw attention to the mysterious case. Now they have made a podcast about it.
That podcast of the Public Prosecution Service (OM) travels back in time to the entertainment center of Gorinchem, in the summer of 1984. 19-year-old Germa was home alone for the first time for a weekend, her parents were visiting relatives in Hengelo. Germa went to the disco in Gorinchem with her friends on Saturday evening July 28. Wham topped the Top 40 with the song ‘Wake me up before you go go’.
On the night out she ran into her neighbor’s boy. He gave her a lift and dropped her off around two o’clock at night at the parental home on the Dwarssteeg in Nieuwendijk.
That night, the Netherlands sat en masse in front of the television because the Summer Olympics were festively opened in Los Angeles. And on that same night, Germa’s sister became a mother for the first time.
On Sunday morning, Germa did not appear at church. Her parents called home in vain, they became worried and returned. Forensic investigations started late and yielded some blood spatters in the house, but: no picture of what could have happened, no suspect, not even a trace. Well tips.
Public prosecutor Paul Emmen is leading the investigation. He warns tipsters not to fill in everything in advance. “Everything can be relevant”. The police and judiciary take all kinds of scenarios into account. For example, it has always been assumed that Germa disappeared shortly after going out on Saturday night. That was because her bed had not been slept in. But she could also only have disappeared during the day on Sunday. “We just really don’t know. We don’t know for sure,” says Emmen.
The podcast delved into the enormous archive that the police had built up about the case: 35 archive boxes spread over five shelves. “Lots of paperwork, quite yellowed. The entire file has also been scanned. Typewriter work, but it also contains handwritten documents,” says Annemieke Los of the cold case team. The official report of the missing person is also included. Monday, July 30, 8:20 am. The phone call from Germa’s father to the state police.
After that, the case was never really out of the news. “We received 1500 tips over the years,” says Annemieke Los. So many tips, public prosecutor Emmen did not look at them all one by one. Now he flips through it. His eye falls on a tip of a man. He was watching a German television channel in 1989 and saw a girl who looked like Germa. The detective requested a video tape, but it turned out to be a false alarm. And so there are countless stories that yielded nothing.
Quarter of a million
In October, a quarter of a million euros was awarded by the Peter R. de Vries Foundation. After that, more than 200 different tips were received. About other people’s statements, possible sites, paranormal tips.
Anyone who thinks they know something has until April 20 to contribute to the investigation. After that, the tip money of 250,000 euros expires. Tips are always welcome after that.