Police have used a deepfake video to try to solve the murder of a teenage boy who was shot dead in Rotterdam 17 years ago.
The investigation into the death of Sedar Soares was reopened 18 months ago after a cold case team uncovered new information that discredited the original theory that he was killed by an enraged motorist for throwing a snowball at his car.
Police now believe he was the accidental victim of a stray bullet fired during a rip deal, in which criminal gangs try to steal from each other. ‘The police can only draw the sad conclusion that Sedar was in the wrong place at the wrong time,’ said a spokesman.
Soares was shot while playing with friends on the rooftop car park of Slinge metro station on February 1 2003. He died in hospital the following day.
In 2005 an Antillean man, Gerard H., was sentenced to 15 years in jail for the murder, but released on appeal a year later after two witnesses retracted their statements. No murder weapon was ever found, but H.’s car fitted the profile of the suspected ‘snowball rage’ killer.
In the video, narrated by Sedar’s sister Janet, the teenager is seen picking up a football and walking between two rows of friends, family members, former classmates and team-mates, some of whom pat him on the back as he passes them.
‘His dream was to be a professional footballer,’ says Janet. ‘That dream is gone, because Sedar is no longer alive. He was 13 years old when he was shot dead while he was playing with his friends in the car park of Slinge metro station in Rotterdam, for no reason.’
Police believe the answer to the murder lies in Rotterdam’s Antillean community and hope that the hard-hitting video, together with a €40,000 reward for a so-called golden tip, will provide the breakthrough.
NPO have also made a documentary, Spreek! Nu! (Speak! Now!) focusing on the cold case team’s decision to produce the deepfake video.
‘Someone must know who murdered my dear brother,’ says Janet in the film. ‘That’s why he’s been brought back to life specially for this film.
We will never get Sedar back, but hopefully it will provide some answers.’
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