|Birthname||Maria Catharina Wilhelmina Kessels|
|born on||2 March 1889 at 09:00 (= 09:00 AM )|
|Place||Tilburg, Netherlands, 51n34, 5e05|
|Timezone||LMT m5e05 (is local mean time)|
|Astrology data||12°00' 17°32 Asc. 22°33'|
Dutch schoolgirl sexually assaulted and murdered in the Sacred Heart Church of Noordhoek in Tilburg in 1900, aged 11. The event caused nationwide uproar. The case was never solved, and the name 'Marietje Kessels' is still remembered today in Tilburg.
Kessels was last seen on 22 August 1900 at about 11:30 a.m. on her way to post a letter and to see her piano teacher, Gerard Schellekens, to cancel a lesson. From the café opposite the Sacred Heart Church a bystander, Maria Panhuijsen, saw a man on the church porch gain Marietje's attention.
When she did not come home her family sounded the alert. She had not visited her piano teacher, and later it was revealed that the letter she had hoped to post had not arrived at its destination. The police began their investigation, searching fairground caravans belonging to people who visited Tilburg during her disappearance. Two days after her disappearance Marietje's body was found in the vault of the church. The body showed signs of rape.
The police investigation focused on two suspects: the painter Gasparus Mutsaers, who worked as a sexton in the church and Johan van Isterdaal. The sexton was handcuffed after the discovery of the body and taken to city hall. Mutsaers was imprisoned because he had some clothes and a church booklet of Marietje's in his possession. Mutsaers claimed that he had found the objects. Mutsaers was seen as the prime suspect. He changed his statements frequently. He was also the one who had keys to all the rooms in the church. Only Mutsaers received a lawsuit, but he was acquitted on appeal.
Former postman Jongbloets said he heard screams in the church at about 11 a.m. He then saw the choir clerk, who looked intimidating to him. Influenced by third parties Jongbloets withdrew his statement because he could not be certain of the man's identity. According to other witnesses, the clerk left around 12 noon, and the door of the church have been locked, which was very unusual.
According to the police report Pastor George van Zinnicq Bergmann started at 6 a.m. At half-past eight the priest did the Catechism for 70 communicants, including Marietje. Two chaplains did the other masses in the morning. Thereafter, the pastor and the chaplains remained, according to his statement, in their rooms. He was not further investigated and could be considered a suspect. The idea that the priest was the culprit, is also held by Ed Schilders, who wrote a book on the murder in 1988. Yet three Tilburg lawyers, who studied a file from the archives of a law firm in Breda, came to the conclusion that the priest could not have done it.
In October 2011 Marietje's second cousin Godelieve Kessels, piblished a book called The murder of Marietje Kessels. She points to the pastor as the culprit on the basis of conversations with her father Mathieu, the younger brother of Marietje Kessels, who was taken into trust by his father and eldest son. He was four years old when his sister was killed and later spoke frequently with his parents about who might be the culprit. Kessels' father was a wealthy businessman in Tilburg. He was under pressure from papal representatives - who would have visited Marietje's parents in 1908 - and may have been forced by them not to accuse the priest. They may have confirmed that Van Zinnicq Bergmann was the killer, but her father would not reveal the truth, nor put the pastor on trial because that would have incriminated the entire Catholic Church.
Sy Scholfield submitted birth certificate n°243 from the online Tilburg archives: "om negen ure des voormiddags" (at nine o'clock in the morning).
- Passions : Criminal Victim : Homicide victim
- Passions : Criminal Victim : Rape/ Sex crime victim
- Personal : Death : Short Life less than 29 Yrs (Age 11)
- Personal : Death : Other Death (Homicide)
- Notable : Famous : Criminal cases