Belgian police now believe the man they are holding for the January 23rd daycare killings in Dendermonde may also have stabbed to death a 73-year-old woman who lived nearby on January 16th.
"There are very clear indications of links between the murders in Dendermonde and the death of the elderly woman," said spokesman Christian du Four. No details were forthcoming, although the suspect is due in court on Tuesday. (Update: Kim de Gelder has admitted to the court that he killed three at the daycare, but says he was not the person who killed the elderly woman, earlier.)
By Monday, the earlier links that had been being detailed first in the Belgian media, at The Copycat Effect, and throughout the blogosphere by Todd Campbell, Ben Fairhall, The Anomalist, SMiles Lewis, Theo Paijmans, and others, were being acknowledged by the UK and American press and then even by the Drudge Report (who seemed later than usual in picking up the copycat thread on this one, curiously).
The UK's Telegraph wrote on Monday: "Belgium's Le Soir newspaper has even speculated on the significance of the fact that the name Gelder is an anagram for Ledger."
This had Todd Campbell wryly observing over at "Through The Looking Glass": "Our trade gone mainstream???"
A comment maker (unnamed) left the remark noting that "Gelder" is an anagram of "Ledger" on this blog at 9:41 PM ET on Saturday, January 24, 2009.
I must add, the spooky links to the decapitation death of Tim McLean, who was beheaded on the Greyhound bus in Alberta on July 30th, allegedly by Vince Weiguang Li, 40, may rest in onomatology someday. If we ever decipher the ties between "Ledger," "Gelder," and the perhaps purely operational name "Badger," in the vortex of these events, no telling where this might lead us.
Vince Weiguang Li is taken into custody after police found "Badger" carrying McLean's head (box).
A police officer at the scene of the fatal stabbing on the Canadian bus saw Li hacking off pieces of McLean's body and eating them, according to a police tape leaked on the Internet on August 2nd. In the tape of radio transmissions, officers referred to the attacker, who also beheaded the victim, as "Badger." They said he was armed with a knife and scissors and was "defiling the body."
"Badger's at the back of the bus, hacking off pieces and eating it," an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on the tape.
The RCMP described the tapes as "operational police communications and, as such, are not meant for public consumption." The tape was posted on YouTube among other sites.
Further news is now being revealed that the suspect in the Belgian creche stabbings is said to have quoted Heath Ledger from The Dark Knight when he was arrested.
When he was arrested, Kim de Gelder's only words were: "I have a question."
According to the Telegraph, picking up their information from Belgian media, they report:
The words echo a scene in Batman: the Dark Knight when the Joker violently gatecrashes a party looking for a the fictional attorney general of Gotham City, Harvey Dent.
"I only have one question: where is Harvey Dent? I'll settle for his loved ones," says the character played by Ledger, before threatening a woman with a knife.
Patrick De Mey, the police officer who arrested Mr De Gelder, described the suspect as being in a passive and trance-like state.
"When I asked him to step off his bicycle and put his backpack on the ground he obeyed perfectly," he told the Gazet Van Antwerpen.
"But in answer to my questions, he clearly had no understanding. He continued to stare at me all the time with wide open eyes and a large grin on his face."
A wide grin? Like the Joker?
A trance-like state? We've certainly heard that before.
The most repeated reference to that kind of trance is the "Manchurian Candidate" state of being mentioned when Sirhan Sirhan was arrested after allegedly shooting RFK. I've noted others in my writings, of course.
Belgium's state-run media has issued more widely the high school photograph of Kim de Gelder.
As mentioned in early postings, according to witness statements and police drawings, the suspect had painted his face white, blackened his eyes and had colored his hair red, apparently to mirror the Joker in The Dark Knight.
Police have addeded another film inspiration, as well. His (so-called) "gruesome and bizarre" garb naturally caused investigators to note the Joker comparison, but then they made a link to another (to quote them) "cult Goth film," The Crow, which they say inspired Ledger in his Batman role.
Perhaps The Crow (1994) was important to de Gelder, but I'm not sure about its influence on Ledger. Actually, from my reading of contemporary Heath Ledger interviews, to prepare for the role, Ledger lived alone in a hotel room for a month researching the character and developing his performance. Ledger claimed he was basing his characterization upon Sid Vicious and the charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge (played by Malcolm McDowell) in A Clockwork Orange (1971). (BTW, "DeLarge" = "A Ledger," "A Gelder," as pointed out in the Bibliophile's comment below.)
Former classmates at the Roman Catholic Sint Carolus school, in the town of Sint Niklaas [= Saint Nicholas], described Kim de Gelder as "a fan of Goth music who could sometimes behave oddly."
He was nicknamed "Satan" because of his long black hair, notes the Belgian and UK press.
De Gelder studied to become a chemist's assistant (humm, an "alchemist"?) and successfully completed his exams in 2006.
Prosecutor Christian Du four has said that there are "very concrete elements" linking the nursery attack to the murder of the elderly woman, De Gelder has said he knows nothing about the latter incident.
Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reported that investigators had found a document on De Gelder's computer with precise information about the elderly woman, which was created several days before the murder.
Next to her name, Elza Van Raemdonck, was written: "Result of the action: one," according to the newspaper.
The newspaper said that the computer file also left no doubts that the nursery attack had been planned in detail in advance and that he targeted other day-care centres as well.
Other recent posting on this topic, here, are:
Belgian Crèche Attacked By "Joker"
Decapitation, Death and the Damned