For Claudia, a true nightmare became reality 7.5 years ago. Her husband, and father of her children, was murdered before her eyes. To this day, she still does not know who the perpetrator is and what his motive was.
Claudia is seven months pregnant and standing in her garden with her husband Marlon and his brother Leo. Her four children are playing inside. The three go outside to discuss the final details for the funeral of Marlon and Leo’s father, who died suddenly two days earlier.
Then disaster struck. “Suddenly someone literally jumped into the front yard and started shooting,” says Claudia in the NPO Radio 1 podcast special of Omroep WNL’s Crime Bureau. Two bullets hit the pregnant Claudia. Injured, she flees inside. “I immediately thought of my children,” she says. The mother of four sent her children to the attic. She called 112, but before the ambulance arrived, Marlon died in her arms. “I grabbed him and put his head on my legs. He stopped responding. I heard a rattle and saw his eyes go away. Dead.”
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‘Nobody knows anything’
7.5 years after the fatal shooting, the case is a cold case. Claudia still doesn’t know who the shooter is. Was it a conflict, was it a mistake? Questions that Claudia has no answers to. “That is very frustrating and to this day I still don’t understand it. Nobody knows anything. I really don’t understand that.”
It is unclear whether Marlon or Leo, who was also hit but survived the attack, had a criminal past. No indications have been released about this. There may have been a conflict, but it is not known what ultimately led to the shooting incident. Just like the question of who the bullets were actually intended for: all three were hit by bullets.
Sometimes Claudia had wanted the assassination attempt to be related to a possible criminal past of Marlon or his brother. “Then I would have understood where it came from, because to this day I don’t know. Nothing was wrong and suddenly he was gone. Someone took it away. Why?”
In Claudia’s opinion, the police “did too little” to find out who the perpetrator was. Only when Wicky van der Meijs, who is a surviving relative and now assists people whose cases have been labeled a cold case, raised the alarm with the police, Claudia was visited by the police again. “Then they came again with other detectives. I saw that for the first time. The case is now a cold case and they will only do something again if a useful tip comes in.”
It is difficult for Claudia that action is only taken then. “I don’t want pity, but I do want it for my children,” she says. “People don’t realize how far this goes. It’s not just that our children have suddenly lost their father in a way that you wouldn’t wish on anyone. It’s everything. The fear of your children, the questions they constantly have. Their entire development and their lives are ruined by this. That remains.”
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Marlon on the couch with his two daughters.
‘Why did someone take my daddy’
The worst thing Claudia experienced was with her daughter, who was just five years old at the time. After her father’s murder, she did not speak, sleep or eat for weeks. Claudia was told that this had to improve quickly, otherwise things would no longer work for her daughter. “Then she started hitting her head on the ground and said: ‘I want to die too, I want to go to daddy. Why did someone take my daddy?’. You don’t want to hear something like that from your child.”
It gives Claudia a lot of unrest and anger, she says. “I don’t understand how it can happen here that it is not resolved.” The story, and especially the question why, will therefore always exist. Also because Marlon is from Curaçao, people quickly have a prejudice, says Claudia. “We have a stamp.”
‘Do it for my children’
Claudia has somewhat lost hope that the perpetrator will ever be caught. “I can’t imagine that you can keep your mouth shut for so long or live with what you did. If you keep that up for almost eight years, I can’t imagine you suddenly opening your mouth. I want it, but I’m afraid it will stay that way.”
The mother of five children asks anyone who knows something to come up with the golden tip. Not for herself, but “for my children. They have nothing to do with this.”
Mick van Wely about possible import of a national cold case team: ‘Certainly half of it can be solved’
By: Vick ten Wolde