Belgium: Why didn’t hundreds of soldiers and agents manage to find Jürgen Conings?

[It seems he has been dead for quite a time – perhaps a few weeks. I find it sad. He did not have to die. But he probably killed himself because he knew there would be no reasoning and they would treat him as a criminal even though he had done nothing except say something. We live in an ever sicker world. Jan]

Now that the lifeless body of Jürgen Conings has been found by accident, everyone is wondering: why did hundreds of soldiers and agents not succeed in doing so before? ‘It was like looking for a single grain of rice in a domain of 24,000 football fields.’

Jürgen Conings has been searched for almost five weeks. The 46-year-old soldier could not be found until Sunday afternoon. Two local police officers found his lifeless body after Johan Tollenaere (Open Vld), the mayor of Maaseik, warned them about a pungent corpse odor. He had noticed it when he went on a mountain bike ride through the Dilserbos in the morning.

“I didn’t go looking for it myself, but immediately thought of Conings,” says Tollenaere, who forwarded his coordinates to law enforcement. “They went to the spot a few hours later and they found him about ten meters further.”

Tollenaere turned out not to be the only one who noticed the pungent smell. Leonard Houben, a hunter who passed by on bicycle, did the same. In the afternoon he went in search of the cause himself. He would have found the body of Conings, an acquaintance of his, first and led the police to it. “He was dressed completely in black, with a bulletproof vest. He had, among other things, a riot gun, handgun 5.7, ammunition, ax and knife.” According to him, the man was barely visible – he was lying against a tree, between tall ferns, in a very difficult to reach area. “I think he had been dead for weeks.”

The federal prosecutor also confirmed that Conings’ body was in a fairly distant state of decomposition. According to their first investigation results, the man would have taken his own life with a firearm.

According to law doctor Jan Bolt, who is not involved in the case, it is not surprising that the deceased soldier went unnoticed for a long time. “If it has been in a cool place or shade for the past few weeks, it is possible that the decomposition process was not yet advanced and the odor was limited.” In any case, other factors also play a role: the wind must be in the right direction, among other things. The fact that both the hunter and the mayor are familiar with it from previous experience may have helped.

stress test

The discovery of Conings puts an end to an unprecedented search in the Hoge Kempen National Park. Hundreds of soldiers and officers searched for the man for weeks. These efforts would have cost Defense, as it turned out recently, about 650,000 euros.

Conings was not found in, but just outside their search zone. He was a few kilometers – as the crow flies – from where his Audi Q5 and later also his backpack with provisions, ammunition and medication were found.

This raises the question of why the search was not made there.

In practice, the federal prosecutor’s office defines the search zone. Limburg governor Jos Lantmeeters (N-VA) does not know on the basis of which criteria this was done, but emphasizes how difficult the search was in the vast nature domain. “It was like searching for a single grain of rice in an area the size of 24,000 football fields.” That is also what Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open Vld) says. He does announce that further investigations will follow. Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden (CD&V) says that the file on the fugitive way was a stress test for all services involved. “The time ahead will be used to thoroughly evaluate events.”

Last week it became clear that military intelligence was failing in the succession of Conings himself within Defense. That was the conclusion of an internal army investigation proposed by responsible minister Ludivine Dedonder (PS). “My thoughts first and foremost go out to Jürgen Conings’ family, who have lost a father and friend and are the main victims of this case,” she said on Sunday evening. About the structural problems, she says: “We will take all measures to avoid such events in the future.”

A report from Committee I, which is investigating the matter, should be ready by the end of June.

Source: https://netherlandsnewslive.com/why-didnt-hundreds-of-soldiers-and-agents-manage-to-find-jurgen-conings-before/180819/

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