Belgium: Boy disappears, possibly murdered

Belgium: Boy disappears, possibly murdered

The investigation is ongoing.


Younes Jratlou (4), disappeared from his home in the village of Le Bizet, on the Belgian-French border, on October 25th and was found dead two weeks later (November 10th) in the Leie river. According to the autopsy, he was dead before he got into the river. The boy had disappeared while his parents were having a fight.

The autopsy did not find any external signs of beating, strangling or other violent acts on the boy's body, but that does not rule out that he was murdered. The investigators suspect he was smothered with a pillow, which leaves no marks.

Younes' father, Mohammed Jratlou, has been interrogated as a suspect.

In an interview to RTL-TVI, Mohammed said he's innocent. Asked whether he's completely innocent, the man answered, almost in tears: "Yes, sir, innocent. I swear to you that I'm innocent in this case regarding my son. It affects me deeply."

Jratlou says he's been feeling lost since the drama and has taken a lawyer because he doesn't know what to do. "I'm lost, I can't read or write. I don't know what I should do."

He also said that he regrets that he and his wife fought that evening, and he had left the door open. Jratlou doesn't believe that Younes got to the Leie on his own. "My son, sir, couldn't get there, 10km from home, alone."

There have been several ceremonies in honor of Younes. His school had a ceremony whre balloons were released. A ceremony was held in the Charleroi-Noord mosque, attended by the local Moroccan community. The Moroccan ambassador to Belgium was there, as well as Younes' father, who was the only family member present.

Younes' was buried in Casablanca (Morocco) on Saturday. Over 1,500 people participated in a silent march that day in Belgium.

The Belgian Federal Police sent a commission to Morocco to interrogate the family there. The agents will also speak with Mohammed's first wife, who lives in Belgium. Since their son's disappearance Younes' parents have been living apart. Mohammed has a violent past.

Younes' father lodged a complaint by the police against unknown persons.

Younes' mother, Niama Jratlou, has meanwhile said that she will kill whoever killed her son. "I want just one thing, that they find those who killed him. I will kill those who murdered my son."

Sources: HLN 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (Dutch)

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