A breakthrough in a 31-year-old Belgian murder case. The identity of a woman murdered in 1992 has become known through an international campaign. It concerns the missing Rita Roberts from Wales.
A previously unknown woman who was found murdered in Antwerp on June 3, 1992 turns out to be 31-year-old Rita Roberts from Wales. The police reported this on Tuesday. “Her relatives are grateful that it is finally clear what happened to their loved one,” she wrote in a message.
Justice in Belgium has reopened the investigation and is also asking Dutch citizens for help. There are indications that Rita Roberts also visited the Netherlands shortly before her death.
In May 2023, the Dutch, German and Belgian police, together with Interpol, organized a campaign called ‘Operation Identify Me’. At the initiative of the National Investigation Communication Team of the Dutch police, 22 cases from the participating countries were presented to the international public via a website.
In all cases, the victims were unidentified girls or women who had probably died as a result of violence. Celebrities such as Carice van Houten, S10, Regina Halmich and Veerle Baetens also contributed to the campaign.
Soon after the launch of the campaign in May 2023, a relative of Rita Roberts reported to the police. This family member had seen the tattoo of the unknown woman from Antwerp in the British media and recognized it immediately.
After investigation, the judiciary in Belgium determined that it was indeed 31-year-old Rita Roberts from the United Kingdom. The surviving relatives last received a letter from her on May 6, 1992. Then it remained quiet until a family member recognized the striking flower tattoo in the search report.
The surviving relatives have been closely involved in the investigation by the Belgian justice system in recent months. “The news was shocking and heartbreaking,” a spokesperson for the family in the United Kingdom told police. “Our passionate, loving and free-spirited sister was cruelly taken. We cannot find words to truly describe the sadness we felt then and still feel. Although the news is difficult to process, we are incredibly grateful that we now at least know what happened to Rita. Rita was a beautiful person who loved to travel. She loved her family, especially her nieces and nephews, and she always wanted to have a family of her own. She could light up a room with her presence, and wherever she went, she was the life and soul of the party. We hope that wherever she is now, she is at peace.”
Now that more than thirty years later it is clear who the Antwerp victim is, the investigation can also be resumed. The police are asking everyone in Belgium and also in the Netherlands who knew Rita at the time to contact the police.
The police have released a photo of the woman so that it is clear what Rita looked like at the time. There are indications that Rita Roberts also spent some time in the Netherlands. The case will therefore be discussed in detail on Tuesday evening in the broadcast of Opsporing Verzocht.
Read here which issues were drawn attention to earlier this year through the ‘Operation Identify me’ campaign.