Almost 60% of murder victims are buried within 10 kilometres of where they were last seen, according to research by the Dutch forensic institute NFI.
Of them, almost half are within a five kilometre radius of their last known sighting and one in five is just 20 metres away. This is because relatives or ex-partners who kill often hide the body in the victim’s garden, the NFI said.
In gangland killings, bodies are usually taken to a distant location by car and dumped, often in wooded areas. ‘Most people think murder victims are buried as far away as possible but that is usually not the case,’ researcher Lieke Dix said.
The research is based on 88 graves found in the Netherlands since 1960 and has been published in police magazine Blauw.
Killers also often place bodies in locations they already know, such as somewhere they played as a child or went for walks, Dix’s research shows. Graves are rarely more than 70 centimetres deep.
The NFI digs up some three bodies a year from secret graves, usually because the victim has been found by chance.
The NFI hopes that by establishing a pattern to burials, they will help the police profile murder suspects.
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