Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Paul Robert Ferdinand (Ferdi) Elsas (1942 – 2009) was a Dutch criminal, responsible for the kidnapping and murder of AH supermarket-chain director Gerrit Jan Heijn.
This was likely the most prominent criminal affair in contemporary Dutch history. I sure remember the non-stop media attention and speculation – a very “un-Dutch” event in that sleepy country in the late 1980’s.
Heijn was kidnapped Sept. 9, 1988 and shot through the head the same day. His body was buried in a forest in the eastern Netherlands. It became the longest-running kidnap case in Dutch criminal history. The tycoon's family had paid the kidnappers a $4 million ransom in a bid to win his release. After the $4 million in diamonds and cash was paid in November, nothing was heard from the kidnapped businessman or his abductors. Heijn, who was 56 when he died, was vice president of Ahold, which owns the Netherlands' largest chain of supermarkets as well as the Giant Food and Bi-Lo stores in the United States.
On Oct. 14, after Heijn's relatives had demanded a sign of life from the kidnap victim, the abductors mailed what appeared to be his little finger. At the time, it could not be established whether Heijn had been alive or dead when the finger was cut from his hand. Stymied by the silence maintained by the abductors after the ransom drop, police staged a massive media blitz late December, when the authorities showed the scant evidence available in a nationally televised news conference.
That event triggered a flow of about 12,000 tips, which have been checked by the 40-strong detective force permanently assigned to the case (the majority of tips coming from clairvoyants).
Ferdi E. was an engineer, troubled by unemployment and debts.
Ferdie E. received a 20 year prison sentence and was released in 2001. He died in a traffic accident, hit by a digger while on his bicycle. What is new to me, is that Ferdi E. (in Dutch media, there is great name protection for criminals) was a consistent beret wearer. Not only that, he seemed to share my liking for Bordeaux berets!