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Dean Verberckmoes: Police find body of Belgian four-year old

Image source, Getty Images

The remains of a four-year-old Belgian boy who disappeared last week have been found in the Netherlands, Dutch police have announced.

Dean Verberckmoes was reported missing by his family after his babysitter failed to drop him off at his grandparents’ house.

On Monday police discovered his body on an artificial island in Holland’s Zeeland province.

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Dutch police announced they had detained a 34-year-old Belgian man.

Police said the man, who they have not formally identified, was arrested in the Dutch town of Meerkerk, around 120 kilometres (60 miles) northeast of where the boy’s body was found.

Dutch media reported that Dean Verberckmoes had been staying with family friends before he was reported missing.

Police said the suspect and the boy were last seen on Wednesday in the Belgian city of Sint Niklaas, near Antwerp.

Officials in the Netherlands launched a mammoth search operation after receiving information that Verberckmoes could be in the country.

Following the man’s arrest, police issued an “amber alert” – a notice sent out in child abduction cases – with a description of the child and a photograph.

Verberckmoes’ body was discovered on Neeltje Jans, an artificial island in Zeeland province, soon after.

A police statement issued on Monday night said a police helicopter took part in the search, and investigators found a “possible crime scene”. Around 22:00 local time (21:00 GMT) officers found “the lifeless body of a child”, the statement said.

In a short message posted to Twitter, police confirmed that the remains were those of the missing toddler and thanked those involved in the search, as well as sending their “condolences” to the family.

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