READ ALSO. Scandal around Dutch TV program ‘Spoorloos’: at least three ‘recovered’ biological families are incorrect
For more than 30 years, the Dutch public broadcaster has broadcast Spoorloos, good for more than 600 episodes and a Gouden Televiziering, one of the most important TV prizes in the Netherlands. The makers look for lost relatives of the participants – often people who were once adopted and now looking for their biological parents, or children of single mothers who want to know who their father was. Often the program makers also succeed in finding family members, which leads to emotional television.
But now it turns out that the fixer that works for the program in Colombia was not always reliable. That came the RTL5 program Scammers tackled on the track.
The man is said to have been involved in at least 16 investigations. They are all now being re-examined. A ‘mismatch’ has already been discovered in at least four cases, the news site Nu.nl knows. Mistakes with major consequences. For example, a man paid for his brother’s studies in Colombia for years, while it was not his brother or stepbrother at all. And a woman with a heavy heart had to realize that the woman she thought was her biological mother, had no connection with her.
According to KRO-NCRV, that without a trace broadcasts, it only concerns one mismatch, says spokesman Matthijs de Bruijn.
But also in at least another case the reunification seems to have gone wrong, Isabel’s story shows that the makers of without a trace published on their website. That story dates from before the fuss about the fixer in Colombia and came to light this summer, says De Bruijn. He said it was published a few weeks ago.
Isabel (a fictitious name) was adopted in 2006 by without a trace brought together with her biological mother. But now, sixteen years later, her dream has burst like a bubble. The woman she thought was her mother all those years turns out to be a complete stranger.
Isabel was overjoyed when the team of without a trace found her biological mother in Colombia in 2006. After that first meeting, she traveled to Colombia twice more, staying there for a longer period of time and getting to know her mother better.
“Isabel and her brother were of toddler and preschool age when they were adopted to the Netherlands from a children’s home in Colombia. Unfortunately, the adoption was not a success story and Isabel has always dreamed of Colombia and hoped to see her biological mother again. In 2005 she wrote without a trace at. With only little data, the search initially came to a dead end,” say the program makers.
But Isabel did not give up and later came up with the name of an employee of the children’s home where she stayed in her first years of life. “This lady was found and be a local employee of without a trace on to the mother. This woman, Maria, did indeed say that she gave up a son and a daughter under difficult circumstances. She indicated that Isabel and the older brother are her children and wanted to see her daughter again. The emotional reunion followed in 2006 and aired that fall.”
Although the contact in the following years was often very difficult due to cultural differences and the language barrier, Isabel met her mother several times and cherished the contact with her.
Yet Maria began to have doubts, she admitted. Because their stories or what they remembered from the past didn’t seem to match completely. “Denna was taken from both this year. The result turned out to be negative, so there is no mother-daughter match.”
Since 2019, DNA research has been carried out in every file, say the makers of without a trace.