Prosecutors abandon search for Britta's body

The search for the body of Britta Cloetens has been abandoned. 24-year-old Britta went missing without trace in 2011. The public prosecutor must now decide whether to bring a case before the court of assizes, but a murder case without a body could be difficult.

Britta Cloetens went missing after visiting a Honda garage in the Antwerp municipality of Wilrijk. A car salesman stands accused of her murder, but the young woman's body has never been recovered. Antwerp prosecutors now say that the investigation is at an end and that they have given up the search for the woman's body.

Investigators believe that the woman was killed when the cover of the boot (hood) came down on the woman's head after she brushed off amorous advances from the car salesman. The injury was sufficient to kill her, but the salesman's lawyer maintains to this day that his client did not intend to kill Britta.

The suspect denies all knowledge of the whereabouts of the woman's body. Britta's relatives think that he is doing this to prevent a police physician from examining the body, an examination that could lead to a harsher sentence.

An examining magistrate has exhausted attempts to recover the body and has now given up. The public prosecutor must now decide whether to bring a case before the court of assizes, but a murder case without a body could be difficult.