25 years after murder of Ioana (17), suspect is in jail: “Breakthrough thanks to DNA trace on glove” | Antwerp

25 years after murder of Ioana (17), suspect is in jail: “Breakthrough thanks to DNA trace on glove” | Antwerp
25 years after murder of Ioana (17), suspect is in jail: “Breakthrough thanks to DNA trace on glove” | Antwerp

A 51-year-old Albanian, nicknamed Arturo Vrenoz, has been arrested for the murder of a 17-year-old Romanian in Antwerp’s Schipperskwartier. Ioana was killed with about twenty stab wounds on May 16, 1999. Thanks to DNA research, there has now been a breakthrough in the cold case.

On the night of May 16, 1999, the body of the 17-year-old Romanian woman Ioana was found near Dries in Antwerp. She had been killed in a gruesome manner. The medical examiner counted about 20 cuts and stab wounds. The investigation revealed that the victim had been seen with her suspected pimp in a nearby café shortly before the incident and witnesses had seen a man running away from the incident. That man stayed in our country with a false identity. After the facts he fled abroad. Despite the extensive murder investigation conducted at the time, a suspect could not be located. The file has thus become a cold case.

False identity

After consultation between the Antwerp public prosecutor’s office and the Federal Judicial Police (FGP) Antwerp, FGP re-analyzed the file. After that review, it was decided to request the investigating judge again. In 2020, he then asked the forensic advisor of the National Institute for Criminalistics and Criminology (NICC) to reexamine the DNA part of the file through a scientific lens. Evolution in science allowed a single DNA profile of a man to be discovered on a glove left at the scene.

In the search for the possible suspect, FGP Antwerp collaborated with the Albanian authorities and Interpol. The possible suspect, nicknamed Arturo Vrenoz, is said to have left Albania in 1993 and arrived in Italy in 2002. Before that, he had again used a false identity. In Italy he was checked several times by the police. Based on all new elements, the investigating judge issued a European arrest warrant and the man was notified. Thanks to international cooperation, the man could be located.

Positive match

FAST Italy, in collaboration with FAST Belgium, was able to arrest the man in Rome on August 21, 2023. After the surrender procedure, he was flown to our country on April 5. The investigating judge in Antwerp arrested him the next day for murder. A comparative DNA test that has since been carried out has revealed a positive match.

The man appeared before the council chamber for a second time on Monday. His detention has been extended. The victim’s family has now been informed of the new developments.

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Tags: years murder Ioana suspect jail Breakthrough DNA trace glove Antwerp


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