Police create deepfake video of murdered teenage boy in bid to solve cold case

Dutch police have created a video using deepfake technology to bring a teenager who was murdered, nearly two decades ago, back to life.

Sedar Soares was shot dead while throwing snowballs with friends in a carpark in Rotterdam in 2003.

Police said it appeared the 13-year-old was in the wrong place at the wrong time, a victim of a so-called "rip deal" gone wrong, meaning that one criminal gang robbed another.

The murder baffled police for years, but now, with the permission of Sedar's family, they have made a video in which the teen appeals to the public to help solve his cold-case crime.

In what Dutch police said was a world first, a lifelike image of Sedar walks along a football field towards the camera and picks up a football.

As sombre music plays, Sedar then walks through a guard of honour on the pitch made up of his relatives and friends.

“Somebody must know who murdered my darling brother," a voice says.

“Do you know more? Then speak,” Sedar and his family say.

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A deepfake is a fake video of someone created using artificial intelligence, that can turn a still image into a video of them saying things they did not actually say.

"We engaged one of the best deepfake makers in the world. It was a challenge because we only had one photo of Sedar taken shortly before his death,” said Daan Annegarn, detective with the National Investigation Communication Team, in a news release.

'We know better and better how cold cases can be solved. Science shows that it works to hit witnesses and the perpetrator in the heart," he said.

Detective Annegarn added it became "immediately clear" that the video had to take place on a football field because "football was everything to Sedar."

According to the news release, police used an actor who resembled Sedar, who walked down the pitch through the teenager's relatives. Sedar's face was then edited in later.

Police said the filming on the football field was the first time since Sedar's funeral that all of his relatives and school friends had come together.

"It is very tangible that a sweet, ambitious boy has been killed by sheer bad luck," Detective Annegarn said about the filming day.

"You see how all his old school buddies have become tough thirty-somethings. Sedar stayed thirteen."