Two victims of sex crimes are buried Police search continues for Belgian children

September 08, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

HASSELT, Belgium -- With both public and private grief, the people of this town yesterday buried two victims of a sex-crimes case that has confronted Belgians with unaccustomed self-doubt, anger and fear.

In separate services two young women, Eefje Lambrecks, 19, and An Marchal, 17, who had been missing for more than a year, were laid to rest here. Their bodies were discovered last week on the grounds of a house owned by an associate of Marc Dutroux, who is the chief suspect in the case.

Dutroux is a convicted rapist of minors who has acknowledged abducting the young women. He also said he killed an accomplice.

Dutroux, an unemployed electrician, owned or visited several houses where, since Aug. 15, two sexually abused girls have been rescued from a makeshift dungeon and two abducted 8-year-olds were found starved to death.

Ten people have been arrested in connection with the cases, including a senior police officer.

Friday, police began digging for bodies at a house owned by Dutroux's mother-in-law, searching for clues to the whereabouts of seven other girls reported as missing in recent years.

"Never in my life has there been anything like this in Belgium," said Pol Vanspouwen, 83, a retired railroad engineer.

The killings have spread unease across Europe that Dutroux was part of a wider pedophile sex ring. Austrian police, who arrested four suspected pedophiles last week, believe that a child-sex ring is centered in Slovakia.

Pub Date: 9/08/96

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