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Family drama in Forest, father and son dead

11:30 24/07/2014

The Brussels prosecutor is to carry out a full investigation of an incident in the municipality of Forest in which a man is alleged to have thrown his son to his death from an 11th-floor apartment in Avenue Minerve (pictured), before killing himself in the same way. According to investigators, Patrick Van Billoen, 32, was mentally disturbed at the possible loss of custody of Luca, aged four.

Police were called when Van Billoen locked himself in his apartment with the child, refusing to turn him over to his mother. Police first tried to force the door of the apartment, then decided to make an approach by passing from a neighbour’s balcony. By the time they were able to enter, however, the apartment was empty.

According to a preliminary evaluation of the evidence, it appears the father first pushed his son out of a window, then followed himself. Both were killed instantly on impact.

The child’s mother and grandmother were at the scene when the incident occurred. Despite initial reports that she had witnessed the incident, the mother was outside the apartment door at the fatal moment and saw nothing.

Van Billoen’s mother, the child’s paternal grandmother, says the chronology offered by police is wrong and cannot believe her son would have thrown Luca to his death. “He would only have jumped with his son in his arms,” she told La Capitale. According to other acquaintances interviewed by the newspaper, Van Billoen had spent two months in a clinic to be treated for alcoholism and had recently self-harmed.

Elsewhere in Brussels, an 18-month-old child called Francisco climbed on a chair and fell from the window of his home in Avenue de Roodebeek in Schaerbeek, directly opposite a police station. Fortunately, his fall was broken by the awning of the ground-floor restaurant below. “He’s running around as if nothing had happened,” his parents said later.


Photo: Google Street View

Written by Alan Hope