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Three men detained for former Dutch volleyballer's death

Agencies | Updated: 2013-05-30 10:04

Three men detained for former Dutch volleyballer's death


Ingrid Visser of the Netherlands (R) spikes the ball over Germany's Corina Ssuschke (L) during their second round match of the world women's volleyball championship in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture on November 10, 2010. [Photo/Agencies] 

MADRID - Three men have been arrested on suspicion of murdering former Dutch Olympic volleyball player Ingrid Visser and her partner in what Spanish police believe may be a business-related incident.

Visser, 35, and her partner Lodewijk Severein, 57, were reported missing on May 17, the Spanish police said in a statement. Two bodies fitting the descriptions of the couple were found in a shallow grave in a lemon grove outside Murcia on Sunday.

During their two-week search, the police were led to a building in the town of Molina de Segura, near Murcia, where the couple were thought by police to have arranged to meet the three suspects.

Murcia's chief of police Cirilo Duran told a news conference on Monday the meeting had been for "business reasons" which remain as yet unclear.

Investigators found evidence of a "violent episode, presumably linked with the disappearance of the Dutch citizens," the official police statement said.

"It was established that there had been three people in the dwelling and these are the three that have been arrested."

A 36-year-old Spaniard and two Romanians aged 47 and 60 were arrested separately in Valencia. All three are believed to be directly linked to the couple's disappearance.

The Spaniard was named as Juan Cuenca Lorente by the Spanish daily El Pais, the former manager and technical director of Club Atletico Voleibol Murcia 2005, in which Visser had played between 2009 and 2011.

"The Dutch authorities provided Ingrid Visser's contacts from her time here as a player," Duran added.

"I don't mean to say the volleyball club is linked, simply that I am speaking about contacts she had during the time she was here as a player."

The president of the Dutch volleyball federation paid tribute to the former international in a statement.

"Ingrid was one of the key players of the Dutch women's volleyball team," Hans Nieukerke said.

"From 1994 up to last year Ingrid totalled 514 caps, an incredible number. In 2007, I had the honour to award her our golden federation pin for her record status as an international.

"That her young life and Lodewijk's have been cut short so tragically is incredibly sad and shocking. Our sympathy goes out to their families, friends and everybody that loved them."

Visser competed in five World Championships and nine European Championships, winning the latter in 1995. She also played in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Severein was the Dutch team manager from 2006 to 2009.

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