2 teenage girls found dead in the Netherlands

PUBLISHED Sun, June 04, 2017 - 11:39pm EDT
Photos: Romy Nieuwburg (L) and Savannah Dekker (R)

Police in the Netherlands have discovered the body of a missing 14-year-old girl, less than two days after another girl was found dead in the same region. One mayor has urged young people to avoid traveling alone in secluded places.

The first girl, 14-year-old Savannah Dekker, disappeared after school on Thursday as she was cycling to a friend's house to do homework. She was found in an industrial area on Sunday morning when someone noticed a body in a pond, police said.

The discovery came just two days after 14-year-old Romy Nieuwburg was found dead in a ditch near the village of Achterveld, about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from Bunschoten, where Savannah's body was found. The towns are about 35 kilometers (22 miles) southeast of Amsterdam.

Romy had left school at 3 p.m. on Friday and she was found dead about two hours later when someone noticed a body in a ditch along a remote road. Romy, who had not yet been reported missing, cycled through the area every day as she traveled to and from school.

It was not immediately known how the girls died, though police confirmed that Romy had been the victim of a crime. It is still unclear whether there is a connection between the two deaths, but the proximity of the deaths has sparked fears in the community.

Police said in a statement on Sunday night that it remains uncertain whether the deaths are linked. "We are naturally asking ourselves the same question. Of course the police are considering various scenarios and, if there are connections, they will be investigated," the statement said.

Amid speculation of a possible link, Bunschoten Mayor Melis van de Groep has urged young people to avoid traveling alone in secluded places.

"We ask you and advise you, as parents and others who are responsible for children, to be extra alert in regards to where your children are going and with whom they are in contact with," Mayor Van de Groep said. "Young people would do well to stay together as much as possible and to avoid unnecessarily going alone to more deserted places."

Investigators are also looking into reports that a vehicle with two men may have been bothering girls in the area. "The police are familiar with multiple signals from the community in this regard," they said, asking anyone with information to contact police.

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