Between 1982 and 1985, a notorious crime spree was perpetrated throughout the Belgian region of Brabant by a murderous gang of thieves. Starting in early 1982, the gang began a series of armed robberies, one of which ended with two police officers seriously wounded, whilst a further attack at a weapons dealer resulted in the death of a policemen. By 1983 the gang began targeting supermarkets, during which several more people were murdered and seriously wounded by the group, which consisted of a tall man who became known as "the Giant", a shorter man who was referred to as "the killer" because he was the main gunman and lastly a middle-aged or "Old Man" who was the gang's getaway driver.
During the investigation, detectives noted whenever the gang struck they netted little in stolen money, making their murderous robberies far more of an extreme risk considering the level of notoriety they had achieved. During their final robberies in September 1985, the gang members went on a murdeorus rampage killing eight innocent people. It would be the last time anyone saw the group again, the crime spree having ended as abruptly as it had begun. Meanwhile, the identities of the killers have never been definitely established and much controversy surrounds one of Belgium's most perplexing unsolved crimes.
The first incident believed to be associated with the Brabant Killers occurred on 31 December 1981, when a Gendarmerie barracks in Etterbeek was burgled. Automatic weapons, ammunition and a vehicle were stolen. Some of these stolen items were later recovered from a garage many years later. On 13 March 1982 a 10-gauge fowling shotgun was stolen from a store in Dinant, Belgium. There was very little known about this incident, except that a witness saw two men running away from the area. A further event on 10 May saw the theft of an Austin Allegro at gunpoint. This car was later abandoned and a Volkswagon Santana was then stolen from a car showroom.
This incident in itself would have been a common occurance, however it would be significant in the crimes that were to follow. It was during this theft that the gang member who would become known as "the Killer" was seen without a mask. Witnesses recalled he spoke fluent French and appeared to be well educated. An armed robbery at a grocery store in Mauberge, France later in the year on 14 August 1982 saw the first attack carried out by this violent criminal gang. As the thieves loaded stolen food and wine into a vehicle, two French police officers arrived on the scene and were shot and wounded by the gang, who made their escape.
A further robbery on 30 September took place at a weapons dealership in Wavre, Belgium, where fifteen firearms, including a sub-machine gun were stolen by the gang. When police responded to the scene, they were met with a hail of gunfire as the thieves attempted to escape. In the ensuing chaos, a policeman was killed and later two others were shot and seriously wounded as the gang left the area. This was the first murder committed by the group who were to become known in Belgium as the Nijvel Gang, ruthless killers dubbed by the press and known internationally as the notorious Brabant Killers. The last incident of 1982 occurred on 23 December, when the gang undertook an armed robbery of a restaurant in Beersel, Belgium, stealing wine and coffee after torturing and killing the caretaker.
The new year brought more of the same, when a taxi was stolen in Brussels on 9 January. The car was later found in Mons, Belgium with the taxi driver tortured to death. Three murders were now associated with the Nijvel Gang, and investigators had few leads in the case. The following month they perpetrated an armed robbery at a supermarket in Rixensart, Belgium on 11 February 1983. Despite the gang members shooting and wounding several people, no one was killed. Detectives were now sure the same gang was responsible for this recent robbery, during which less than $18,000 was stolen. A Saab Turbo damaged at the scene with multiple bullet holes was sent for repair at a commercial garage, where it was later stolen on 22 February. Three days later the gang stormed into another supermarket in Uccle, Belgium. There were no fatalities during this armed robbery, where the group stole less than $16,000.
On 3 March 1983 the thieves robbed another supermarket in Halle, Belgium, stealing less than $18,000. The fourth murder was committed by the hang when a staff member at the supermarket was murdered. A further robbery almost a month later on 7 May 1983 netted the gang less than $22,000. No one was harmed during this incident at a supermarket in Houdeng-Gougnies, Belgium. The same could not be said of the next armed robbery, which occurred on 10 September at a textile factory in Temse, Belgium, during which one worker was killed whilst his wife was seriously wounded. It was ascertained by police that the gang escaped with seven bullet-proof jackets.
A week later would prove to be the bloodiest so far, with the gang claiming several victims. In the early morning hours of 17 September 1983, the gang raided a 24-hour self-service gas station. Despite the alarm sounding the gang patiently loaded twenty kilos of coffee and tea along with 10 litres of cooking oil into their vehicle. When a couple pulled up in their Mercedes they were fired upon by the gang, who killed both before a responding police unit arrived.
The gang promptly fired upon the two gendarmes, killing one and seriously wounding the other before making their escape in the couple Mercedes and a Saab Turbo which was stolen from a repair garage on 22 February. A second responding police unit began a pursuit of the gang, who opened fire on their car before escaping in the stolen Saab by using an obscure road. Officers later found the Saab abandoned close to where it had previously been stolen, close to a Delhaize supermarket and it appeared the gang members had unsuccessfully attempted to destroy the car by shooting the petrol tank.
The investigation into the Brabant murders proved difficult for detectives and also perplexing. The amount of money stolen from each robbery was only small amounts in comparison to the level of risk the thieves were taking, as well as the murderous outcome of some of their crimes. It had been established that there were several individuals involved, but a core group of three members were identified by witnesses as the main perpetrators. The leader of the Brabant Killers become known as "the Giant", because of his enormous stature. He was clearly seen instructing the others and was considered as the possible mastermind behind the robberies.
Another member of the gang became known as "the Killer", primarily because he was known to be triggerman and coldblooded executioner. A third member was known as "the Old Man", who may have been middle-aged or older who usually acted as the gangs getaway driver. Because the locations of the crimes were close and clustered, authorities believed it might be possible the gang lived in the area. The investigation was hampered when a potentially crucial piece of evidence was lost, when fingerprint evidence from the stolen Saab disappeared from police custody.
With eight murders now attributed to the Brabant Killers, detectives stepped up their investigation but were unsure where the gang would strike next because of the indiscriminate and random element in choosing their raids. The next robbery happened on 2 October 1983, when they stormed into a restaurant in Ohain, Belgium. Although nothing of value was taken, the restaurant owner was shot dead. Another murder five days later, during the robbery of a supermarket in Beersel, Belgium, the gang claimed their tenth victim.
A customer was shot to death and they escaped with less than $35,000 in stolen cash. Two months later on 1 December, another incident during an armed robbery of a jewellers in Anderlues, Belgium, resulted in the deaths of two more people. Police discovered the gang stole only low-level jewels, of little value considering the murders. The Nijvel Gang were now notorious throughout Belgium and France, and the intense investigation was no closer to discovering the identity of the thieves or ascertaining their motives for such low value robberies.
Unbeknown to the police or the Belgian public, this would be the last crime committed by the Brabant Killers for almost two years. In that intervening period numerous lines of inquiry were pursued without success. It was believed the gang had vanished for good as equally mysteriously as they had appeared, and Belgians breathed a sigh of relief that their senseless reign of terror was over. This peaceful complacency would be shattered on 27 September 1985 when the gang targeted a Delhaize supermarket on rue de la Graignette in Braine-l'Alleud. Although the gang stole less than $6,000, they opened fire on shoppers, killing three people and wounding two others.
9-year-old David Van De Steen was shopping with his family when the gang launched their attack. David was wounded in the shooting but survived his injuries, however both his parents and sister were killed. It would not be the last incident of the day, as a mere 15 to 25 minutes later, another armed robbery occurred at a Delhaize supermarket on Brusselsesteenweg in Overijse. The gang proceeded to steal less than $25,000, and once again "the Killer" shot at shoppers, killing five more people whilst one was wounded. Amongst those killed was a banker by the name of Léon Finné. These incidents shocked the country further and security was increased at many supermarkets in the region with armed guards stationed to prevent any further attacks.
The last occurrence associated with the Brabant Killers happened on 9 November 1985, in a region outside the gangs usual area of operation. An armed robbery at the Delhaize supermarket on the Parklaan in Aalst began at around 7:30pm when the group stormed into the store wearing bizarre face paint to conceal their identities. In the parking lot they shot and killed a 9-year-old girl and other bystanders before entering the supermarket.
There they began waving their guns in the faces of customers, and were taunting and shouting to intimidate their victims. Anyone who looked in their direction was executed, even small children were targeted. When they were leaving, eight customers lay dead and the gang had stolen less than $25,000. Witnesses would later confirm the majority of the murders had been performed by "the Killer", who justified the murders as removing any potential witnesses. The gang appeared in no rush as they left the store, remaining in their getaway vehicle for some time.
Responding patrols from both of Belgium's police forces arrived on the scene before the gang members left the Delhaize parking lot, however most police vehicles waited at a secondary exit about 100 yards away, expecting the gang to use that area to escape. Those officers who arrived outside the supermarket were met with a hail of gunfire as the gang attempted to shoot their way out. The getaway car, driven by the "Old Man" drove out slowly as "the Giant" walked alongside, exchanging gunfire with police officers. Eventually the gang drove away as police fired shots at the gangs vehicle, whilst an armoured police van pursued the robbers for half a kilometre before losing sight of them.
The subsequent investigation into the Brabant crimes centred on ascertaining the killers identities and discovering the motive behind the murders. According to the lead prosecutor in the case, Jean Depretre, there were believed to be between 4 to 10 active participants with three core members involved in every crime. Although the gang had displayed an uncanny ability to elude police, their crimes were considered amateurish, with little planning involved apart from the use of extreme violence to intimidate and control.
Innocent members of the public were callously gunned down for no apparent reason, except to possibly remove potential witnesses. This brazen overkill was most evident when the gang stormed several supermarkets and killed customers in the parking lot before they even entered the store. The only area in which the gang showed preemptive planning was in the use of getaway vehicles and escape routes, which were well organised and effective in ensuring they escaped successfully from every crime scene.
The killers almost always wore masks or face paint to conceal their identities, however all three core members were seen at some point without and the Giant was known to wear no gloves, caring little for fingerprint evidence. The gang were in possession of several weapons, most notably a .45 Ingram MAC 10 sub-machine gun, as well as a Heckler & Koch MP5, a 7.65mm Ortgies Semi-Automatic Pistol and two Riot Guns which were possibly Franchi SPAS 12 or Winchester 1200s.
These were of particular interest to investigators because these were the same type of weapons, 12-gauge pump-action shotguns loaded with rare buckshot, which were similar to those used by Groupe Diane, a former special forces unit of the Belgian Gendarmerie which operated from 1974-1976. The propensity for high-powered firearms would seem to indicate the Brabant Killers were proficient in their use and had perhaps received military or police training or used weapons regularly as a hobby.
There was a break in case in 1985 when a Volkswagen Golf, similar to one used by the gang as a getaway car, was found burnt out in a wooded area close to a canal around 30km outside Brussels. This same canal came under the scope of the investigation when in November 1986 various items used in the gang's crimes were found there. Police used underwater frogmen to dredge the bottom of the canal, which resulted in the discovery of bullet-proof jackets and weapons used in some of the murders. This presented a problem for the authorities because the same canal had been searched previously in 1985 and nothing was found during that time, and a dispute arose over this incident.
It was suspected the weapons had been placed there between the 1985 and 1986 searches, meanwhile others questioned the effectiveness of the original search, suspecting officers had manipulated the evidence in an attempt to influence the investigation. Officers in charge of the original 1985 search protested that an underwater search of the canal had not been undertaken during that time. Also, the condition of the items found had not deteriorated to such a degree, meaning they could not have been immersed in water since 1985. The Winchester pump-action shotguns using in the crimes have never been found.
A popular theory concerning Government complicity in the Brabant massacres has led many to question the role of a potential state sanctioned terror group operating within NATO countries. The Western Union alliance of 1948 established Operation Gladio as part of a "stay-behind" network in the event of an invasion by members of the Warsaw Pact, specifically the Soviet Union, which would provide armed resistance in the event of such a scenario. Most NATO member countries established Gladio Units, including Belgium and France.
In 1967 France withdrew from NATO's military alliance and the command structure relocated to Mons in Belgum. In 1990, France made an official denial of the existence of any "stay-behind" unit on French soil, whilst the Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti publicly stated that the Allied Clandestine Committee, which oversaw secret unorthodox warfare in Europe, held their last meeting between members on 23/24 October that same year. He claimed that the French Branch of Gladio was present at this meeting, which was chaired by Belgian General Van Calster, the director of the Belgian military secret service SGR.
The existence of a secret "stay-behind" network was confirmed in November 1990 by Belgian Minister of Defense Guy Coëme, which raised concerns about the terrorist attacks undertaken in Italy that became known as the "Years of Lead", which caused much social and political turmoil. CIA involvement in Operation Gladio had been long suspected, and the European Parliament condemned NATO and the United States for their perceived interference in European politics by utilising the stay-behind units to cause unrest.
Following the Brabant massacres, the Belgian Government launched two inquiries into the events, and created a permanent parliamentary committee in 1991 to bring any existing units under Belgium's federal authority. A parliamentary inquiry failed to provide any solid proof linking Operation Gladio to the motives behind the Nijvel Gang, or evidence that a terror group had infiltrated the stay-behind network. As a result, the Belgian Parliament abolished the Gendarmerie in a series of reforms, mainly due to a lack of confidence in their performance in both the Brabant case and that of the killer Marc Dutroux, and created a permanent committee to oversee and continue surveillance of the activities of the intelligence agencies.
One theory puts forward the idea that the killings were cover for a series of planned assassinations of specific targets. It has been rumoured the murder of Léon Finné, the banker who was shot to death by the Brabant Killers during the 27 September 1985 attack at the Delhaize supermarket on Brusselsesteenweg in Overijse, was deliberately targeted. Others believe the murders are connected to Mafia run businesses and illegal gun-running.
The secret far-right organisation Westland New Post (WNP), founded in 1979 by Paul Latinus, has been strongly suspected of involvement in the Brabant murders. WNP is suspected of having links to Front de la Jeunesse, a far-right paramilitary group which was investigated in 1980 after a member shot at a group of North Africans, killing one and causing an international incident. Front and WNP members used a forested area to conducted firearms training, which would later be used by the Brabant Killers.
Further links to WNP involved members being ordered by Latinus to perform covert surveillance on Belgian supermarkets, and compile a report on their security arrangements. These same supermarkets would later be targeted during the Brabant massacres. This was confirmed by WNP second-in-command Michel Libert, who admitted Latinus had ordered the intel operation to commit the supermarket robberies, but denied any knowledge of a link with the Nijvel Gang.
Speculation of WNP involvement centres on the NATO "stay-behind" units using the robberies and murders as part of a training exercise, and using the far-right group as cover for CIA involvement. The WNP was involved in a double murder at a Jewish Synagogue in 1982, with the chief suspect being Marcel Barbier, who was a member of WNP and close friend of Libert. Barbier was arrested for the murders in August 1983 and that of another shooting, and was later implicated by WNP leader Latinus, who stated to police that Barbier and another member, Eric Lamers had committed the synagogue murders and that he, Latinus had helped hide the murder weapon.
Lamers was acquitted of any involvement, but received 5 years imprisonment for other offences, whilst Barbier was convicted of the murders and imprisoned. This soon caused a schism in the organisation, with some members believing Latinus has betrayed a valued member to the police. Soon after this, arrests were made amongst the WNP and Front de la Jeunesse membership on charges of organising an illegal militia and unauthorised possession of low-level classified NATO documents. The following year in April 1984, Latinus committed suicide and the WNP split as members formed rival groups. Some believe this accounts for the inactivity of the Brabant Killers from December 1983 until their re-emergence in September 1985, with a renewed determination to strike back against Belgian society.
In 1991 Barbier's co-accused Lamers was convicted of another un-related double murder and subsequently fled the country. He was separately accused of possession of child abuse images and sexual exposure against a child, earning him expulsion from WNP. He would eventually be recaptured in Serbia and later appeared on a Belgian TV program in 2014 when he publicly accused the WNP of complicity in the Brabant murders. He cited as evidence the ordered supermarket surveillance by WNP leader Lanitus, and went on to accused Michel Libert of active participation in the murders, asserting he was the gang leader known as "the Giant". Libert would himself go on national television to deny the accusations, claiming they were the product of Lamer's mental health issues.
Others have been suspected of being members of the Brabant Gang, including professional criminal Madani "Dany" Bouhouche, an ex-Gendarmerie and gun-shop owner who has several links to the Brabant killers. Despite being the son of a Belgian mother and Algerian Father, he developed extreme right-wing Neo-Nazi views. Never-the-less, he joined the Belgian police and later became a member of the detective branch of the Rijkswacht/Gendarmerie, known as the Bijzondere Opsporings Brigade (BOB).
He soon became involved in illegal activities along with other BOB members, most of whom would be later be either fugitives, killed, dismissed or disappeared after helping Bouhouche. His main accomplice in the illegal BOB activities was Robert Beijer, another suspect in the Brabant murders. In 1981 Bouhouche was assigned to regular duties after he was caught attempting to conduct unauthorised surveillance on another police unit. In retaliation, he targeted the superior officer who led the disciplinary, who almost died in a machine gun attack days after another suspicious officer survived a car bomb.
Bouhouche was also involved in the 31 December 1981 burglary incident at an Etterbeek guard station, during which vehicles belonging to the Groupe Diane Gendarmerie were stolen along with false duplicate plates. Police believed these cars, as well as other stolen items, including more cars and weapons had been stored in anonymously rented garages organised by Bouhouche and Beijer. He was also suspected of plotting an extortion scheme using IED attacks on a chain of supermarkets, the same stores which would later be targeted by the Brabant Killers. He soon quit the Gendarmerie along with his associate Robert Beijer and together they began a private detective agency known as the "Agence de Recherches et d'Informations" (ARI), however he soon left and opened up his own gun shop.
He would eventually be arrested in 1986 for the murder of his close friend Juan Mendez, who had suspected Bouhouche had stolen firearms from his personal collection, and made it known he believed Bouhouche owned guns used in the Brabant crimes. He was released towards the end of November 1988, but was soon under arrest again for the murder of a Lebanese diamond trader on 2 September 1989, and the death of a security guard who disappeared along with a consignment of gold in 1982.
On 14 February 1995 he was sentenced for the murder of the Lebanese trader, but acquitted of the 1982 murder and the 1981 attempted murder of his police superior. Released once more on 15 September 2000, Bouhouche's name would not come to public attention until his death on 22 November 2005, when it was discovered he had been associated with an ex-member of the Westland New Post and had in his possession a pump-action shotgun, similar to the Winchester type used by the killers that were never found. At the very least, it is believed Bouhouche had inside information on the series of murders.
Bouhouche, who was of slight build and often wore sunglasses, enjoyed hobbies such skydiving and mountaineering as well as having a strong obsession with weapons, specifically guns for which he often participated in secret paramilitary training with his far-right associates, including members of the Westland New Post. It was Bouhouche's involvement with the WNP which caused the authorities to focus their investigations on the far-right group. Many suspect Madani Bouhouche might have been a leading member of the Brabant Gang, however no solid evidence points to his involvement.
Similarly Robert Beijer, Bouhouche's Gendarmerie comrade has been proposed as a possible candidate for the Brabant gang member known as "the Killer", who orchestrated most of the groups murders and summary executions. Beijer has an equally murky criminal career despite initially being a member of the Belgian police force. He grew up in Brussels, speaking fluent French whilst his mother was from the German speaking part of East Belgium and his paternity never established. After completing secondary school, he began studying commercial engineering but quit during the second year.
In 1974, he served first with the Government Guard, a military police service much like the French Gendarmerie which came under the authority of the Ministry of Defence. He initially worked for a Brussels police unit, investigating drug smuggling rings under the supervision of the National Drugs Office. Eventually he was promoted to work with the Surveillance and Investigation Branch (BOB), where he met and worked with Madani Bouhouche. Due to intense rivalry between the different units, Beijer and Bouhouce began eavesdropping on several of their colleagues, and when this was discovered by their superiors they were both removed from their positions and posted to different local police brigades around Brussels.
In interviews, Beijer would later claim this happened because of Bouhouche's involvement with extreme right-wing movements, which would have caused embarrassment to the Government Guard, and so they were both removed with the eavesdropping case cited as the reason for their dismissal. Both men resigned shortly afterwards over dissatisfaction at their transfers and set-up their own private detective bureau (ARI) on 1 April 1983. Together they achieve some measure of success, mostly because of their utilisation of police informants, which they were able to gain access to because of their previous police work. They became so successful at intelligence gathering and closing criminal cases, that their expertise was allegedly sought after by the Belgian State Security. However, this professional working relationship came to an end when Bouhouche quit the ARI on 1 October 1984.
Beijer soon came to the attention of detectives when they began investigating the murder of Juan Mendez, a Belgian arms manufacturer and weapons collector. Bouhouche was the prime suspect in Mendez' murder, and because Beijer was a close associate he was hauled in for questioning. It soon came to the attention of police that Beijer had been illegally monitoring private telephone conversations and he was arrested in the fall of 1987. Released soon afterwards, due in part to his confessions regarding a network of garages he and Bouhouche had rented under false names to hide stolen goods. A search of some of these garages results in officers finding some of the weapons and ammunition which had been stolen by Bouhouche in 1981 from the Gendarmerie Barracks in Etterbeck.
Whilst Bouhouche is in jail, Beijer remains a free man but is closely monitored. Eventually an international arrest warrant is issued for him after Bouhouche's wife tells investigators she is in possession of a firearm, given to her by Beijer in order to free her husband from jail, which she keeps hidden in a jar of frozen spaghetti sauce. Located in Spain, he returns to Belgium of his own free will and promptly organises a press conference, and several days later hands himself over to the chief investigating judge in the Mendez murder case.
He is released again in August 1988 after eight months in custody and resumes his private investigative work. Several months later Bouhouche is also released and together they travel to Antwerp on 2 September 1989 where they meet with a Lebanese diamond trader. The purpose of their meeting is unclear, however the situation soon deteriorated and a fight ensued during which the diamond trader was shot and killed by Bouhouche, whilst Beijer is injured.
Both men are tried together in what would be one of the longest trials in Belgian history. Bouhouche is convicted of murder, which he claimed to the court was a debt collection gone wrong, along with the theft of the Groupe Diane weaponry he stole in 1981. Beijer was sentenced to 14 years for his involvement in the Lebanese murder case and several other unconnected crimes. Neither man were found guilty of the murder of Juan Mendez, and this crime remains unsolved.
Beijer was released in December 1999 when he moved to Thailand. On numerous occasions he has proposed striking a deal with the Belgian Government to provide information on unsolved crimes, such as the 1981 murder of the security guard Bouhouche was suspected of committing, and the Nijvel Gang massacres, in exchange for new identity or reduction in his sentences, but no deal was ever reached.
Another professional career criminal, Patrick Haemers has been proposed as a possible candidate for "the Giant", who was the presumed leader of the Brabant Killers. A tall man with striking physical features, Haemers was the son of a nightclub owner who enjoyed a carefree and pleasure-seeking lifestyle. An habitual offender and cocaine addict, he first came to the attention of police when he was arrested and convicted for rape.
Several years after his release he became involved in a money laundering scheme and expanded his criminal enterprises to include the armed robbery of security vans. He left Belgium for an known amount of time, but eventually returned, becoming involved with a scheme to kidnap former Belgian prime minister Paul Vanden Boeynants, who was eventually released after the payment of a large ransom.
Haemers was now wanted in Belgium for numerous criminal offences along with his known associates such as, Philippe Lacroix, Basjri Basjramj, Denise Tyack and Marc Van Dam. Due to the growing police pressure, he fled abroad to Brazil along with his girlfriend and infant son, where they were eventually discovered and extradited back to Belgium. During his incarceration his fellow accomplices planned an escape, however Haemers was suddenly transferred which prevented him joining the scheme.
The 40-year-old Haemers was now suffering from severe cocaine withdrawal and facing the prospect of a long prison sentence. Unable to cope with this, he hung himself from the radiator in his prison cell on 14 May 1993. Although Haemers would seem to fit perfectly with the tall stature of the Giant, and was once considered a potential suspect, he was known for his high value crimes which netted significant rewards, not the small amounts stolen or the extreme violence committed by the Brabant Gang.
There is a theory that the leader of the Brabant Killers, known as "the Giant", was two different people during different periods in the crime spree. Christiaan Bonkoffsky was born in Dendermonde on 4 April 1954. He began his business studies and then enrolled at Gendarmerie school, and upon his graduation he joined the Gendarmes as a member of Groupe Diane, the elite military unit. It was there that Bonkoffsky was trained in the use of firearms and anti-terrorism tactics.
By the 1980's he became involved in an alleged shooting incident in Zaverntem, and was subsequently transferred to the Aalst Brigade. By the end of 1992 he was married, however just three months later his wife requested a divorce, citing his alcoholism as a contributing factor. He was officially divorced by 1998 and he continued to work for the Brigade until 2001 when he was again transferred, this time to the municipal police in Aalst where he worked until his retirement later that same year.
It would seem Bonkoffsky implicated himself in the Brabant crimes, apparently confessing to his brother shortly before his death on 14 May 2015. A personal acquaintance who knew him during the time of the Barabant massacres described Bonkoffsky as an "extremist and militarist". This same person would state that that Bonkoffsky once told him, "we should make a coup and the power should return to the people". Those who propose him as a suspect in the murders believe Bonkoffsky wanted to attempt a coup d'etat against the Belgian Government. Many believe that Barabant leader known as "the Giant" was and unknown individual during the first crimes spree between 1982 to 1983, and in 1985 was Christiaan Bonkoffsky.
A fresh investigation in spring of 2003 uncovered previously unknown details about the aftermath of the crimes. A witness came forward with information which might have been the last confirmed sighting of the Brabant Killers after the last attack on 9 November 1985. The witness claimed they saw a similar car to the getaway vehicle used by the gang to escape from the Parklaan Delhaize supermarket, a Volkswagon Golf, which had been found burnt out during a police search in 1985. They further claimed they saw one of the gang members on the floor near the car, apparently wounded and near death.
A search of the forest-road site, Bois de la Houssière, by a police forensic examination squad found evidence that a weapon had been fired in the vicinity. It was theorised that the gang either executed one of their own for some unknown reason, or one of them had been severely wounded in the final shootout with police. Those interested in the case believe either the Giant or the Killer had been wounded by police and was then "finished off" by his fellow gang members as a coup de grâce. Indeed the Giant was seen outside the getaway car during the final raid, firing his weapon at police before getting into the vehicle to escape, so it is possible he was wounded in that confrontation.
Investigators are still assigned to the case and significant resources are provided in an attempt to solve the case. The general consensus seems to indicate an ulterior motive behind the crimes, and coupled with a botched police investigation which has failed to provide any solid leads up to the present day. The whereabouts and identities of the Brabant Killers remains a mystery, as does the motive for their murderous crime spree.
Written by Nucleus
Written by Nucleus