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The police found the body of missing Ichelle van de Velde in the canal along Kanaalweg near Sluis on Tuesday afternoon. The woman from Oostburg had been missing since December 15.

Last week a 44-year-old woman from Oostburg was arrested on suspicion of killing Ichelle. The suspect had a shop in Oostburg, located close to Ichelle’s shop. In the suspect’s shop, the police found evidence suggesting a crime.

The investigation led the police to the area of Sluis, and on Tuesday sniffer dogs, a police boat, and a police helicopter were deployed to search the area for Ichelle’s body. The woman’s body was found early in the afternoon. She was identified later on Tuesday and her family was informed, the police said.

“It is a terrible message for the family,” spokesperson Lars Walder said to Omroep Zeeland on behalf of the family. “At the same time, it also means that the nightmare – as her mother called the past two months – has ended. Now the great sadness dominates.”