Published On: Tue, Nov 14th, 2017

Experts: Acute stress syndrome cause of Henriquez’ death

Mitch HenriquezSCHIPHOL – Mitch Henriquez most likely died in June 2015 from an acute stress syndrome that resulted in heart failure. Three experts who studied the case said that on the second day of the trial against two police officers who were involved in the arrest of the 42-year old Aruban at the Parkpop festival in The Hague. The pathologist of the Dutch Forensic Institute (NFI) who earlier mentioned strangulation through a choke hold as the cause of death adjusted her findings.

She now mentions three possible causes of death but does not exclude the acute stress syndrome, the Telegraaf reported on Tuesday.

The charges against the two police officers, identified only as DH01 and DH02 are causing grievous bodily harm, resulting in death and manslaughter. It is unlikely that the prosecution will be able to prove manslaughter, given the findings of the experts. Manslaughter requires proof for the intention to kill someone, or at least that a suspect consciously took the risk that a victim could die as a result of his actions.

Possible causes

The acute stress syndrome has several possible causes. The use of violence is one of them as are the use of alcohol or drugs, lack of oxygen or a combination of these factors. Someone who suffers from this syndrome is excited, does not listen to orders and does not react to pain. All this could result in heart failure.

Are the two police officers responsible for Henriquez’ death? That is the main question at the trial.

Too late

According to forensic doctor Daan Botter the officers began six minutes too late with reanimation. But patients who die from acute stress syndrome and initially survive it, often pass away a couple of days later, the expert said.


There was quite some discussion about making the second day of the trial a closed-door session because of the privacy of the two defendants. The court showed images recorded by private citizens of Henriquez’ arrest. Richard Korver, the attorney for the Henriquez family submitted the material. The images appeared to be of a much better quality than those the Rijksrecherche (National Detective Agency) used for a compilation.

“Remarkable,” the president of the court said, wondering aloud why it appeared to be impossible for the Rijksrecherche to do what attorney Korver achieved within 24 hours.

The images clearly show how Henriquez’ head is stuck in the arm of officer DH01` and that his face is turning purple. The officer also shouts at bystanders: “Don’t make jokes about firearms.” This seems to indicate that the officers knew that Henriquez was not really carrying a weapon.