What do you do when someone you love, admire and respect is murdered? What do you do when you are left to question who would commit such a horrible act? How can someone help?
As we approach the one year anniversary of his death, we have created a GoFundMe page to offer a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murder of Johan DeLeede on March 11, 2016.
A little background.....okay it's a lot....but there was so much to this wonderful person. It's worth no wing a bit more about him.
In the late summer of 1970, Johan DeLeede and his wife Liesbeth moved from the Netherlands to Annandale Virginia, a suburb of Washington DC. Johan had come to work at the Washington DC headquarters of the World Bank. Quite quickly the DeLeede family became well-known popular members of their neighborhood in Annandale where they lived for well over twenty years. Johan was known for his engaging personality and intellect. He was wonderfully insightful and would indulge anyone, and he had a gift for helping young people find themselves. He could be found chatting with almost anyone about life and the world's ways at almost any time of day. He was kind to strangers, interested in being part of people’s solutions, deeply enthralled in American and world politics and keenly aware of how the world had changed since he was a boy in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands in World War II. He had an ability to share joyful moments with anyone and everyone.
Growing up around the DeLeede family meant lively banter and long talks at the dinner table, and anything Netherlands, politics, soccer or sailing.
Johan DeLeede was your unconditional friend. He was a special person who invested in helping people appreciate and carve out lives of kindness, compassion, loyalty to others, friendship and love.
He taught, coached and mentored others to never escalate, and always seek to talk out problems….to de-escalate and find peaceful common ground. He taught that it is a position of real strength to volunteer your softer side to others rather than confront them.
He and Liesbeth believed deeply in America. They both eventually became U.S. citizens, and Johan was always happy to offer his political opinions as well as being a proud participant in the political process.
Johan and Liesbeth eventually bought their ideal retirement home on the river where they lived for many years. As their children brought grandchildren into their lives, "Oma and Opa" reveled in the opportunities to live by the water, to sail and boat with their grandchildren. They built an amazing life on the river where their extended family once again came, met and celebrated life together. Life was good if not great. Just about every day, Johan could be found cleaning his stretch of the river of debris, leading an effort to build a bike path from Route 1 to the Mason Neck area, and engaging his neighbors. Everyone knew him as that happy, engaging, thoughtful "Dutchman".
Sometime around 1am on March 11, 2016, as Johan sat in the living room of his home, someone fired a gun into the living room of his home several times striking him and killing him, leaving everyone connected with the DeLeede with a torrent of heartbreak, fear and emptiness that can’t be quickly resolved or filled. Liesbeth lost her husband and soulmate, their daughter and sons have lost the family patriarch and a compass. Their grandchildren have lost that happy and wise spirit they called Opa; their innocence has been inextricably lost to fear that what happened to their grandfather could happen to anyone, and so many of us have lost that friend who was so readily giving of joy and thoughtful discussion.
We know we think twice about the unlocked door in our homes, of strangers on the streets; we are indelibly marked by such an inexplicable act of violence against such a wonderful person.
We want Johan's life to not be just another statistic that reflects an unsolved homocide; Johan was a very real person with a name and a family and friends, not a number.
We know that somewhere out there, some coward is still walking our streets. They have not been apprehended……yet. We know someone knows something but perhaps they don’t know that they know the one thing that will bring the killer to justice. We want justice served to the person or persons responsible for taking Johan from us, and some understanding of why this would happen to such an amazing person.
So with all this in mind, all of us.....people who loved Johan, and love his family, and people who simply believe that it’s time to give innocent victims a voice by bringing perpetrators to justice; have started this fund site with the hopes that we can establish a sizable reward fund to hopefully bring someone forward to help find and convict the killer or killers. Johan's son,
Gijs DeLeede, is the beneficiary and he is setting up the reward fund with the help of the authorities and some of us concerned family and friends. If the investigation stalls and absent anyone coming forward, as the trustee, Gijs may hire a private investigator with the funds. We hope that for everyone who has asked how they can help, this is a start. One day when the fund has been used and a killer has been caught and removed from our streets and fear doesn’t win.........then perhaps THAT day we can once again remember Johan with more smiles than heartbreak.
Johan DeLeede was a great man. Please consider donating today.
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- Olga Gonzalez
- Tahir Walji
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