The Disappearance of Natalee Ann Holloway
Natalee Ann Holloway was an American teenager who made international news after she vanished on May 30, 2005, while on a high school graduation trip to Aruba. At the time of her disappearance, Holloway lived in Mountain Brook, Alabama. She had graduated from Mountain Brook High School on May 24, 2005, shortly before the trip. Her disappearance caused a media sensation in the United States and the case remains unsolved to this day.
Natalee Ann Holloway was scheduled to fly home from her trip on May 30, but she failed to appear for her flight. She was last seen by her classmates outside of Carlos’n Charlie’s, a restaurant and nightclub in Oranjestad, in a car with local residents Joran van der Sloot and brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe.
When questioned, the three men said they dropped Holloway off at her hotel and denied knowing what became of her. Upon further investigation by authorities, Van der Sloot was arrested twice on suspicion of involvement in her disappearance and the Kalpoes were each arrested three times. Due to lack of evidence, the three men were released each time without being charged with a crime.
The Search For Natalee Ann Holloway
With the help of hundreds of volunteers, Aruban investigators conducted an extensive search and rescue/recovery operation for Natalee Ann Holloway. Special Agents from the FBI, fifty Dutch soldiers and three specially equipped Dutch Air Force F-16 aircraft participated in the search. In addition to the ground search, divers searched the ocean floor for Holloway’s body.Her remains were never found.
On December 18, 2007, Aruban prosecutors announced that the case would be closed without any charges made against the former suspects. The Aruban prosecutor’s office reopened the case on February 1, 2008, after receiving video footage of Van der Sloot under the influence of marijuana, saying that Natalee Ann Holloway died on the morning of May 30, 2005, and that a friend had disposed of her body. Van der Sloot later denied that what he said was true, and in an interview with Greta Van Susteren (the contents of which he later retracted) said that he sold Holloway into slavery.
Holloway’s parents criticized Aruban police for a lack of progress in the investigation and questioning of the three men last seen with her. The family also called for a boycott of Aruba, which gained Alabama Governor Bob Riley’s support but failed to gain widespread backing. On January 12, 2012, Alabama judge Alan King declared Natalee Ann Holloway legally dead.
The Background of Natalee Ann Holloway
Holloway was the first of two children born to David and Elizabeth “Beth” Holloway in Clinton, Mississippi. Her parents divorced in 1993, and she and her younger brother Matthew were raised by their mother. In 2000, Beth married George “Jug” Twitty, a prominent Alabama businessman, and Natalee moved to Mountain Brook, Alabama. Holloway graduated with honors from Mountain Brook High School. She was a member of the National Honor Society, the school dance squad, and was a participant in other extracurricular activities.]Holloway was scheduled to attend the University of Alabama on a full scholarship,where she planned to pursue a pre-med track. At the time of her disappearance, Dave Holloway was an insurance agent for State Farm in Meridian, Mississippi, while Beth Twitty was employed by the Mountain Brook School System.
The Disappearance of Natalee Ann Holloway in Aruba
On Thursday, May 26, 2005, Natalee Ann Holloway, and 124 fellow graduates of Mountain Brook High School, located in a wealthy suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, arrived in Aruba for a five-day, unofficial graduation trip. The teenagers were accompanied by seven chaperones. According to teacher and chaperone Bob Plummer, the chaperones met with the students each day to ensure nothing was wrong. Jodi Bearman, who organized the trip, stated, “the chaperones were not supposed to keep up with their every move.”
Police Commissioner Gerold Dompig, who headed the investigation from mid-2005 until 2006, described the behavior of the Mountain Brook students, stating there was “wild partying, a lot of drinking, lots of room switching every night. We know the Holiday Inn told them they weren’t welcome next year. Natalee, we know, drank all day every day. We have statements she started every morning with cocktails—so much drinking that Natalee didn’t show up for breakfast two mornings”. Two of Holloway’s classmates, Liz Cain and Claire Fierman, “agreed that the drinking was kind of excessive”.
The Last Time Natalee Ann Holloway Was Seen
Natalee Ann Holloway was last seen by her classmates leaving the Aruban bar and nightclub Carlos’n Charlie’s around 1:30 a.m. on Monday, May 30. She left with 17-year-old Joran van der Sloot, a Dutch honors student living in Aruba and attending the International School of Aruba, and his two Surinamese friends, 21-year-old Deepak Kalpoe and 18-year-old Satish Kalpoe, in Deepak Kalpoe’s car.
Holloway, who had been scheduled to fly home later that day, did not appear for her return flight, and her packed luggage and passport were found in her Holiday Inn room. Aruban authorities initiated searches for Holloway throughout the island and surrounding waters but did not find her
The Early Investigation
Immediately following Holloway’s missed flight on May 30, 2005, Jug and Beth Twitty flew to Aruba with friends by private jet. Within four hours of landing in Aruba, the Twittys presented the Aruban police with the name and address of Van der Sloot as the person with whom Natalee Ann Holloway left the nightclub. Beth stated that Van der Sloot’s full name was given to her by the night manager at the Holiday Inn, who supposedly recognized him on a videotape. The Twittys and their friends, with two Aruban policemen, went to the Van der Sloot home looking for Holloway. Van der Sloot initially denied knowing Holloway’s name, but he then told the following story, with which Deepak Kalpoe, who was present, agreed.
Van der Sloot related that they drove Holloway to the California Lighthouse area of Arashi Beach because Holloway wanted to see sharks, before dropping her off at her hotel around 2:00 a.m. According to Van der Sloot, Holloway fell down as she exited the car but refused Van der Sloot’s help. He stated that she was then approached by a dark man in a black shirt similar to those worn by security guards as the young men drove away.
The Search Continued For Natalee Ann Holloway
Searches for Holloway began immediately afterwards. Hundreds of volunteers from Aruba and the United States joined in the effort. During the first days of the search, the Aruban government gave thousands of civil servants the day off to participate in the rescue effort. Fifty Dutch marines conducted an extensive search of the shoreline. Aruban banks raised $20,000 and provided other support to aid volunteer search teams. Beth Twitty was provided with housing, initially at the Holiday Inn where she stayed in her daughter’s former room. She subsequently stayed at the nearby Wyndham Hotel’s presidential suite.
Reports indicated that Natalee Ann Holloway did not appear on any surveillance camera footage from her hotel’s lobby during the course of the night. However, Beth Twitty has made varying statements as to whether the cameras were actually working that night. According to an April 19, 2006, statement made by her, the video cameras at the Holiday Inn were not working the night Holloway vanished. Twitty has made other statements indicating that they were working, and has stated so in her book. In any event, according to Police Commissioner Jan van der Straten (the initial head of the investigation until his 2005 retirement), Holloway did not have to go through the lobby to return to her room.
The Arrests of Multiple Suspects In The Disappearance of Natalee Ann Holloway
On June 5, Aruban police detained Nick John and Abraham Jones, former security guards from the nearby Allegro Hotel which was then closed for renovation, on suspicion of murder and kidnapping. The initial reason for their arrests has never been officially disclosed, however, according to news accounts, statements made by Van der Sloot and Kalpoe may have been a factor in the arrests. Reports also indicate that the two former guards were known for cruising hotels to pick up women, and at least one of them had a prior incident with law enforcement. John and Jones were released, however, on June 13 without being charged.
On June 9, 2005, Van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering Natalee Ann Holloway. Aruban law allows for arrest on serious suspicion from investigators; to continue holding the suspect in custody, an increasing evidential burden must be met at periodic reviews. According to Dompig, the focus was on these three suspects from the “get-go.” Aruba police corps chief Gerald Dompig stated that surveillance of the three began three days after Holloway was reported missing, and included surveillance, telephone wire taps, and even monitoring of their e-mail. Dompig indicated pressure from Holloway’s family caused them to stop their surveillance prematurely and to detain the three suspects.
A Misinformation Campaign
As the investigation continued, on June 11, David Cruz, spokesman for the Aruban Minister of Justice, indicated that Natalee Ann Holloway was dead and authorities knew the location of her body. Cruz later retracted the statement, saying he was a victim of a “misinformation campaign.” That evening, Dompig alleged to the Associated Press that one of the detained young men admitted “something bad happened” to Holloway after the suspects took her to the beach, and that the suspect was leading police to the scene. The next morning, prosecution spokeswoman Vivian van der Biezen refused to confirm or deny the allegation, simply stating that the investigation was at a “very crucial, very important moment.”
On Friday, June 17, a sixth person, later identified as disc jockey Steve Gregory Croes, was also arrested. Police Superintendent Jan van der Straaten told the media that “Croes was detained based on information from one of the other three detainees.” On June 22, Aruban police detained Joran’s father Paulus van der Sloot for questioning; Paulus was arrested that same day. Both Paulus van der Sloot and Croes were ordered to be released on June 26.
During this period, the remaining detained suspects’ stories changed. All three suspects indicated that Van der Sloot and Natalee Ann Holloway were dropped off at the Marriott Hotel beach near the fishermen’s huts. Van der Sloot stated that he did not harm Holloway, but left her on the beach. According to Satish Kalpoe’s attorney, David Kock, Van der Sloot called Deepak Kalpoe to tell the latter that he was walking home, and sent him a text message forty minutes later.
The Story Changes Yet Again
At some time during the interrogation, Van der Sloot detailed a third account that he was dropped off at home and Natalee Ann Holloway was driven off by the Kalpoe brothers. Dompig discounted the story, stating:
This latest story [came] when [Van der Sloot] saw the other guys, the Kalpoes, were kind of finger-pointing in his direction, and he wanted to screw them also, by saying he was dropped off. But that story doesn’t check out at all. He just wanted to screw Deepak. They had great arguments about this in front of the judge. Because their stories didn’t match. This girl, she was from Alabama, she’s not going to stay in the car with two black kids. We believe the second story, that they were dropped off by the Marriott.
On Monday, July 4, following hearings before a judge, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe were released, but Van der Sloot was detained for an additional sixty days.
Rearrested and Released Again
On July 4, the Royal Netherlands Air Force deployed three F-16 aircraft equipped with infrared sensors to aid in the search, without initial result. In March 2006 it was reported that satellite photos were being compared with photographs taken more recently (presumably from the F-16s) in an attempt to find unexpected shifts of ground that might be Holloway’s grave.A small pond near the Aruba Racquet Club close to the Marriott Hotel beach was partly drained between July 27 and 30, 2005, after an individual (“the gardener”) came forward. According to Jug Twitty, the gardener claimed to have seen Joran van der Sloot attempting to hide his face, driving into the Racquet Club with the two Kalpoes on the morning of May 30 between 2:30 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. Nancy Grace described the gardener as “the man whose testimony cracks the case wide open”.
Another person, (“the jogger”) claimed to have seen men burying a blonde-haired woman in a landfill during the afternoon of May 30. The police had searched the landfill in the days following Holloway’s disappearance. The landfill was searched three times after the jogger’s statements, including a search by the FBI with cadaver dogs. But the searches were fruitless.
On July 25, 2005, the reward for Holloway’s safe return was increased from $200,000 to $1,000,000, with a $100,000 reward for information leading to the location of her remains. Following Holloway’s disappearance, a reward of $50,000 had been established for her return. In August 2005, the reward for information as to her remains was increased from $100,000 to $250,000.
A New Suspect
The FBI announced that it had been provided with documents by Aruban authorities, suspect interviews, and other evidence. A group from the Aruban police and prosecutor’s office traveled to the FBI central laboratory at Quantico, Virginia, to consult with American investigators. After a piece of duct tape was found with strands of blond hair attached to it, samples were tested both at a Dutch lab and at Quantico. The FBI announced that the hair was not Holloway’s.
The Kalpoe brothers were rearrested on August 26 along with another new suspect. According to his lawyer, 21-year-old Freddy Arambatzis was suspected of taking photographs of and having physical contact with an underage girl, an incident which allegedly occurred before the Natalee Ann Holloway disappearance and in which Arambatzis’s friends Van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers were supposedly involved. Van der Sloot’s mother, Anita van der Sloot, stated, “It’s a desperate attempt to get the boys to talk. But there is nothing to talk about.” While no public explanation was then made for the Kalpoe rearrests, Dompig later said that it was an unsuccessful attempt to pressure the Kalpoe brothers into confessing.
One More Story
On September 3, 2005, all four of the detained suspects were released by a judge despite the attempts of the prosecution to keep them in custody, on the condition that they remain available to police. On September 14, all restrictions on them were removed by the Combined Appeals Court of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.
In the months following his release, Van der Sloot gave several interviews, expanding upon his version of events, most notably a lengthy interview for Fox News, which aired over three nights in March 2006. During the interview, Van der Sloot indicated that Natalee Ann Holloway wanted to have sex with him, but he did not because he didn’t have a condom. Van der Sloot stated that Holloway wanted them to stay on the beach, but that he had to go to school in the morning.
According to Van der Sloot, he was picked up by Satish Kalpoe at about 3:00 am, leaving Holloway sitting on the beach. In August 2005, David Kock, Satish Kalpoe’s attorney, stated that his client had gone to sleep, and had not returned to drive Van der Sloot home. Van der Sloot stated he was somewhat ashamed to have left a young woman alone on the beach, albeit by her own request, and related that he was not truthful at first because he was convinced Holloway would soon turn up.
A Different Theory
The FBI and Aruban authorities interviewed (or in some cases, re-interviewed) several of Holloway’s fellow graduates in the United States in January 2006. On January 17, 2006, Aruban police searched sand dunes on the northwest coast of Aruba in search of Holloway’s body, as well as areas close by the Marriott beach. Additional searches took place in March and April 2006, without result.
Shortly before leaving the case, Dompig gave an interview to CBS correspondent Troy Roberts, which was broadcast on March 25, 2006. In that interview, Dompig stated that he believed Holloway probably died from self-consumed alcohol and/or drug poisoning, was not murdered, and that someone later hid her body. Dompig also stated that Aruba had spent about $3 million on the investigation, about 40% of the police operational budget. Dompig indicated that there was evidence that points to possession (though not necessarily use) of drugs by Natalee Ann Holloway. Members of her family have denied drug use by Holloway.
On April 11, 2006, Dave Holloway published his book that recounted the search for his daughter, co-authored with R. Stephanie Good and Larry Garrison, Aruba: The Tragic Untold Story of Natalee Holloway and Corruption in Paradise.
The Dutch Take Over the Investigation into the
Disappearance of Natalee Ann Holloway
On April 15, 2006, Geoffrey von Cromvoirt was arrested by Aruban authorities on suspicion of criminal offenses related to dealing in illegal narcotics that, according to the prosecutor, might have been related to the disappearance of Natalee Ann Holloway. At his first court appearance, his detention was extended for eight days. However, Von Cromvoirt was released on April 25, 2006. In addition, another individual with initials “A.B.” was arrested on April 22, 2006, but was released the same day.
On May 17, 2006, another suspect, Guido Wever, the son of a former Aruban politician, was detained in the Netherlands on suspicion of assisting in the abducting, battering, and killing of Holloway. Wever was questioned for six days in Utrecht. While initially Aruban prosecutors sought his transfer to the island, he was instead released by agreement between the prosecutor and Wever’s attorney.
At Aruba’s request the Netherlands took over the investigation. A team of the Dutch National Police started work on the case in September 2006 following receipt of extensive case documentation in Rotterdam. On April 16, 2007, a combined Aruban–Dutch team began pursuing the investigation in Aruba.
Book, Search and Inspection
A book by Joran van der Sloot and reporter Zvezdana Vukojevic, De zaak Natalee Holloway (The Case of Natalee Holloway) was published in Dutch in April 2007. In the book, Van der Sloot gives his perspective of the night Holloway disappeared and the media frenzy that followed. He admits and apologizes for his initial untruths, but maintains his innocence.
On April 27, 2007, a new search involving approximately twenty investigators was launched at the Van der Sloot family residence in Aruba. Dutch authorities searched the yard and surrounding area, using shovels and thin metal rods to penetrate the dirt. Prosecution spokeswoman Van der Biezen stated, “The investigation has never stopped and the Dutch authorities are completely reviewing the case for new indications.” A statement from the prosecutor’s office related, “The team has indications that justify a more thorough search.” Investigators did not comment on what prompted the new search, except that it was not related to Van der Sloot’s book. According to Paulus van der Sloot, “nothing suspicious” was found, and all that was seized were diary entries of him and his wife, and his personal computer—which was subsequently returned.
The Kalpoe Brothers Detained Again
On May 12, 2007, the Kalpoe family home was subject to an “inspection.” The two brothers were detained for about an hour upon objecting to the entry by police and Dutch investigators, but were released when the authorities left. According to Kock, the brothers objected to the search because officials did not show them an order justifying the intrusion. A statement from Van der Biezen did not mention what, if anything, officials were searching for, but indicated nothing was removed from the home. A subsequent statement from Het Openbaar Ministerie van Aruba (the Aruban prosecutor’s office) indicated that the purpose of the visit was to “get a better image of the place or circumstances where an offense may have been committed and to understand the chain of events leading to the offense.”
2007 Rearrests and Re-releases
With Aruban investigators citing what was described as newly discovered evidence, Joran van der Sloot and Satish and Deepak Kalpoe were rearrested November 21, 2007, on suspicion of involvement in “manslaughter and causing serious bodily harm that resulted in the death of Natalee Ann Hollowa.y” Van der Sloot was detained by Dutch authorities in the Netherlands, while the Kalpoe brothers were detained in Aruba. Van der Sloot returned to Aruba and was incarcerated.
In November 2007, Dave Holloway announced a new search for his daughter, probing the sea beyond the original 330-foot (100 m) depths in which earlier searches had taken place. That search, involving a vessel called the Persistence, was abandoned due to lack of funds at the end of February 2008 with nothing of significance found.
On November 30, 2007, a judge ordered the release of Satish and Deepak Kalpoe, despite attempts by the prosecution to extend their detention. The two brothers were released on the following day. The prosecution appealed the Kalpoes’ release. That appeal was denied on December 5, 2007, with the court writing, “Notwithstanding expensive and lengthy investigations on her disappearance and on people who could be involved, the file against the suspect does not contain direct indications that Natalee passed away due to a violent crime.” Van der Sloot was released without charge on December 7, 2007, due to lack of evidence implicating him as well as a lack of evidence that Natalee Ann Holloway died as the result of a violent crime. The prosecution indicated it would not appeal.
On December 18, 2007, prosecutor Hans Mos officially declared the case closed, and that no charges would be filed due to lack of evidence. The prosecution indicated a continuing interest in the Kalpoes and Joran van der Sloot (though they legally ceased to be suspects), and alleged that one of the three, in a chat room message, had stated that Natalee Ann Holloway was dead. This was hotly contested by Deepak Kalpoe’s attorney, who stated that the prosecution, in translating from Papiamento to Dutch, had misconstrued a reference to a teacher who had drowned as one to Holloway. Attorney Ronald Wix also stated, “Unless (Mos) finds a body in the bathroom of one of these kids, there’s no way in hell they can arrest them anymore.”
Van der Sloot Talks Again
On November 24, 2008, Fox News aired an interview with Van der Sloot in which he alleged that he sold Natalee Ann Holloway into sexual slavery, receiving money both when Holloway was taken, and later on to keep quiet. Van der Sloot also alleged that his father paid off two police officers who had learned that Holloway was taken to Venezuela. Van der Sloot later retracted the statements made in the interview.
The show also aired part of an audio recording provided by Van der Sloot, which he alleged is a phone conversation between him and his father, in which the father displays knowledge of his son’s purported involvement in human trafficking. According to Mos, this voice heard on the recording is not that of Paulus van der Sloot—the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reports that the ‘father’s’ voice is almost certainly that of Joran van der Sloot himself, trying to speak in a lower tone. Paulus van der Sloot died of a heart attack on February 10, 2010.
On February 23, 2010, it was reported that Joran van der Sloot had stated in an interview that he had disposed of Holloway’s body in a marsh on Aruba. New chief prosecutor Peter Blanken indicated that authorities had investigated the latest story, and had dismissed it. Blanken stated that “The locations, names, and times he gave just did not make sense.”
Extortion of Money From Holloway’s Family
On March 29, 2010, Van der Sloot contacted John Q. Kelly, Beth Twitty’s legal representative, with an offer to reveal the location of Holloway’s body and the circumstances surrounding her death for an advance of $25,000 against a total of $250,000. After Kelly notified the FBI, they arranged to proceed with the transaction. On May 10, Van der Sloot had a $15,000 wire transferred to his account in the Netherlands, following the receipt of $10,000 in cash that was videotaped by undercover investigators in Aruba.
Authorities stated that the information that he provided in return was false because the house in which he said Holloway’s body was located had not yet been built at the time of her disappearance. On June 3, Van der Sloot was charged in the U.S. District Court of Northern Alabama with extortion and wire fraud. Van der Sloot was indicted on the charges on June 30.
Stephany Flores is killed by Joran van der Sloot in Peru
On May 30, 2010—five years to the day after Natalee Ann Holloway ‘s disappearance—Stephany Flores Ramírez, a 21-year-old business student, was reported missing in Lima, Peru. She was found dead three days later in a hotel room registered in Van der Sloot’s name. Van der Sloot was arrested on a murder charge on June 3 in Chile and was extradited to Peru the next day. On June 7, 2010, Peruvian authorities said that Van der Sloot confessed to killing Flores after he lost his temper because she accessed his laptop without permission and found information linking him to the disappearance of Natalee Ann Holloway.
Police chief Cesar Guardia related that Van der Sloot told Peruvian police that he knew where Holloway’s body was and offered to help Aruban authorities find it. However, Guardia stated that the interrogation was limited to their case in Peru, and that questions about Holloway’s disappearance were avoided. On June 11, Van der Sloot was charged in Lima Superior Court with first-degree murder and robbery. On June 15, Aruban and Peruvian authorities announced an agreement to cooperate and allow investigators from Aruba to interview Van der Sloot at Miguel Castro Castro prison in Peru. In a September 2010 interview from the prison, Van der Sloot reportedly admitted to the extortion plot, stating: “I wanted to get back at Natalee’s family—her parents have been making my life tough for five years.” Van der Sloot pleaded guilty to murdering Ramírez on January 11, 2012, and was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
Natalee Ann Holloway Declared Legally Dead
In June 2011, six years after Natalee’s disappearance, Dave Holloway filed a petition with the Alabama courts seeking to have his daughter declared legally dead. The papers were served on Beth Twitty, his former wife, who announced her intention to oppose the petition. A hearing was held on September 23, 2011, at which time Probate Judge Alan King ruled that Dave Holloway had met the requirements for a legal presumption of death. On January 12, 2012, a second hearing was held, after which Judge King signed the order declaring Natalee Ann Holloway to be dead.
credit – wikipedia