The 1995 cold case of the rape and murder of a Dutch teenager was blown wide open after the victim's brother falsely confessed to killing her.
Nicole van den Hurk, 15, went missing Oct. 6, 1995, after leaving her grandmother's house in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, for her shift at a local grocery store. Seven weeks later, her body was found in a forest near her grandmother's house, reports Stuff.
The case was left largely unsolved for years, and her family spent years tirelessly working with authorities to bring Nicole's killer to justice.
In 2011, when new technology made it possible to trace multiple people's DNA on a single piece of evidence, Nicole's brother, Andy, tried to convince investigators to exhume his sister's body and force investigators to reopen a case that had remained closed for more than a decade.
However, investigators wouldn't reopen the case unless given good reason. That's when Andy decided to falsely confess.
"I wanted to get her exhumed and get DNA off her," he said. "I kind of set myself up and it could have gone horribly wrong."
He added: "To get her exhumed I had to put steps in place to get her exhumed. I went to police and said I did it."
Police wanted to hold Andy as an official suspect, but a magistrate ruled they couldn't because they didn't have enough evidence.
Nicole's body was exhumed and scientists were able to find three different DNA types off a single trace of sperm. The DNA matched Nicole's boyfriend, an unknown man and a man named Jos de G. The Netherlands does not identify suspects by their full names.
According to NL Times, de G was charged initially charged with homicide, which was later downgraded to lesser charges of rape and manslaughter. The man had a history of rape, but denied murdering the girl.
In 2016, de G was found not guilty of manslaughter but was convicted of rape. The judge said DNA evidence was not enough to convict the man of murder, and, because unknown DNA was also found on Nicole's body, that it's possible another person may have been responsible. He was sentenced to five years for rape, two of which he already served before the trial.
"This man deserves the highest punishment there is," said Nicole's father, Ad van den Hurk. "He has taken the life of my child. The Netherlands is not helped by this, that such a man may still walk the streets."