A Massachusetts woman attending college in the Netherlands was stabbed to death by a jealous stalker she first met on Tinder, her family said.
Mieke Oort, a 21-year-old student at the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, was killed over the weekend at her home in Leeuwarden, about 90 minutes outside Amsterdam.
“She was my baby sister,” Danique Oort told Boston-area ABC affiliate WCVB. “We don't really know how to cope with it. She had just so much more to give and she had a lot of love for everyone.”
The suspect in Oort’s death, a 27-year-old Dutchman identified by Dutch authorities only as Thomas R., was arrested after fleeing to Germany. He and Oort dated briefly but he had been tailing her for “some time,” an ex-boyfriend told the Hart van Nederland news program, adding that Thomas R. affixed a GPS tracker to Oort’s bicycle so he could keep tabs on her location.
Oort’s ex, Michael van der Waal, told Dutch-language news outlet Boevennieuws that the two were thinking about rekindling their relationship, which he believes may have sent Thomas R. over the edge. In addition to the GPS locator, Thomas R. began following her, harassing her via WhatsApp, and drove up and down her street, according to the former boyfriend.
“Right now, we’re just trying to process this whole situation and really say our goodbyes, and make the necessary arrangements that we’ll have to do,” Oort’s sister said.
Oort, whose father is Dutch, moved in 2020 from Winchester, Massachusetts, a town about eight miles north of Boston, to study in the Netherlands. On Sunday, shortly after 3:30 a.m., police were called to Oort’s apartment building after someone reported a fire at the address.
Neither Danique Oort nor Oort’s parents, Celine and Michael—who are reportedly en route to Holland to prepare for their daughter’s funeral—responded to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment on Wednesday.
According to Boevennieuws, Thomas R. threw an incendiary device into the building, forcing the residents to evacuate. During the pandemonium, two men who lived there, aged 25 and 30, injured, Boevennieuws reported, explaining that Thomas R. “then stabbed Mieke Oort to death with a sharp object.”
The fire was quickly brought under control, after which Oort’s body was discovered.
Thomas R. quickly headed for Germany in his car, contacting his parents, who run an optical shop in the town of Leek, along the way. They called the police, who located his vehicle near the German border. German cops then intercepted Thomas R. in Leer, where he was arrested at about 5 a.m. Sunday.
“We are perplexed,” his parents told the Leeuwarder Courant of their son’s alleged crime.
In a statement to the Boston Globe, Dutch police said they have launched “forensic and tactical investigations” and are now interviewing witnesses. A high school friend told the Globe that Oort loved kiteboarding, a sport she posted about on social media.
“Special moments in Cape Cod and Maine,” Oort posted on Facebook last August. “Sad summer has to end with friends and family. Until next summer ”
Thomas R. is now awaiting extradition to the Netherlands.