The mysterious death of Tess Abels (38) from Roermond found in Kiel-Windeweer.  Justice has an old farmer and a fugitive ‘companion’ in his sights

The mysterious death of Tess Abels (38) from Roermond found in Kiel-Windeweer. Justice has an old farmer and a fugitive ‘companion’ in his sights

One dead, five suspects, but none charged with murder or manslaughter. The death of Tess Abels (38) from Roermond is caught in a net of question marks. A story about a drug laboratory in Kiel-Windeweer, an old farmer and a fugitive ‘companion’.

They should take a closer look, the agents who are excavating the site at the Nieuwe Compagnie in Kiel-Windeweer on August 22, 2022. It looks like a blanket. A piece of clothing, perhaps. But they think it’s okay. It is the body. Although it is difficult to recognize that, because the man has been covered with something black, like tar.

Later this turns out to be Tess Abels from Roermond. Why is his body in a well almost 300 kilometers from his home?

Gas masks in the car

Flash back to July 17, 2022. It’s 7 p.m. when the police check a Volkswagen Golf on the Hoogeweg in Staphorst. Behind the wheel is Brahim B. (45) from Venlo. Abel is sitting next to him. Officers see Umit A. (27) in the back seat. Like Abel, he is from Roermond. The men seem worried, the officers involved later write in an official report. Two of the residents also seem to have no identification with them. Police searched the car and found gas masks, gloves, spoons, pH meters and goggles. All materials used in pharmaceutical laboratories.

In addition, police found pictures of ecstasy pills, blocks of hashish and kilos of hemp on the phone in the car, and a video of instructions on mixing liquids. In the same phone there is a picture of a note which is written ‘Hogen meeren shopping center, Hoogezand, at cafe Startshart, black bus’. The navigation system in the car is also installed on Hoogezand, the highway to be precise.

Problems for agents

The officers can do two things: arrest the men on suspicion of preparing to produce drugs or let them go. There are several risks in the first option. Some drug offenders have information about the existence of the material and thus can go unpunished. In addition, the police will not know where the drug laboratory is located and who is actually involved. On the other hand, if you let those men go, you may never see them again. There is not enough police capacity to thoroughly investigate every drug suspicion.

These agents choose a central location and place a GPS tracker under the car of the three Limburg men. They expect to be led to a drug laboratory. However, the Limburgers turn the car around and head back south. This also prevents surveillance action from the police. They will probably never see those men again.

However, that is without Umit A. being counted. Six days after the special police check in Staphorst, he suddenly found himself in a meadow in Hoogezand with a bloody head and an open body. The police find a confused, injured man. He yells at the police and won’t explain how he got hurt or what he’s doing away from home in the first place. Finally, the police drop him off at the train station.

It doesn’t exist

What the police still do not know is that Umit A. is a few kilometers away from the drug laboratory in Kiel-Windeweer when he is found in a state of confusion. His DNA is later found in the same laboratory. They also do not know that it is in that episode that Tess Abels is heard for the last time. On July 24, his phone is still in contact with the transmission towers in Hoogezand. Abels has told his mother that he has to work in France for three weeks. There is communication for the first few days, but at some point it becomes silent. Abels is also keeping quiet on her son’s birthday in August. She was reported missing on August 11.

Eleven days later, a large police team enters a farmer’s field at the Nieuwe Compagnie in Kiel-Windeweer. Officers find an unused drug lab. The soil is very polluted. In the well they find the completely unrecognizable body of Abel. The owner, farmer Ernst B. (69), is arrested. His wife Janny (66) and relative Chris van D. (66) are also considered suspects. A soda can is found on the grounds with DNA from Umit A. and Abels on it. The police are thinking of checking in Staphorst; there the people were seen together in a car full of equipment used in a drug laboratory.

It immediately makes all the occupants of the car suspicious. However, Umit A. seems to have left for Turkey. Three days after his journey in the pasture he flew to Alanya. Lawyer Joost Antonides does not want to say anything about his client’s role in this story. Brahim B. from Venlo was arrested in September. However, soon he is out again. There seems to be very little evidence linking him to the Kiel-Windeweer lab, let alone Abels death. His lawyer Marcel Heuvelmans also says that he has not heard from the court for a while. The spokesman for the judicial department, on his part, said that no final monitoring decision has been made regarding all the suspects.

Empty warehouse to the north

As a result, after nine months of research, important questions remain unanswered. What? What are three Limburgers doing in Groningen? Justice thinks that they – like many other drug criminals in recent years – are taking advantage of sick farms and empty warehouses in the north of the country to produce drugs. But among the three people, one is dead, one is in Turkey and the third says he has no answers. This makes farmer Ernst B. the prime suspect for now. He is not only accused of involvement in the drug laboratory, but also of the role in hiding the body of Abel.

Justice did not take any chances with the accusation. The farmer was caught by the police in prison. Ernst B. says in a conversation with his family: ‘I know who did it, but I won’t say anything. No, they cannot understand.’ He later denies to the police any information about Abel’s death or how his body ended up in the well. Ernst B. also claims that he was not aware of the drug lab on his property. However, he has something to explain, according to the court.

How did Abel die? And who was involved in his death, or in the concealment of his body? The cause of death has not been determined. The ‘high degree of variation in death’ also makes it difficult to determine the cause. There may be a ‘force in the neck’, according to a report from the pathologist, but further investigations are still underway. Without cause of death, justice cannot prosecute anyone for murder or manslaughter. And so there hasn’t been a homicide investigation for months now, but a drug investigation. Investigation of a 69-year-old Groningen farmer and his wife, a relative of the elderly couple and a refugee from Roermond.