The Most Dramatic Evidence in The Natalee Holloway Disappearance Mystery
The Disappearance Heard Around the World David and Beth Holloway brought Natalee into the world in 1986. However, their entire life was rocked by a phone call they received on May 30, 2005. That was when they learned that their daughter had vanished during her trip to the Dutch island of Aruba, in the Caribbean. The Holloways […]
The Disappearance Heard Around the World
David and Beth Holloway brought Natalee into the world in 1986. However, their entire life was rocked by a phone call they received on May 30, 2005. That was when they learned that their daughter had vanished during her trip to the Dutch island of Aruba, in the Caribbean.
The News of Natalee’s Disappearance Was Shocking
Beth was stunned by the news because she had spoken to her daughter frequently throughout the visit to the island paradise. They also texted often. During all of these communications, nothing made her think that something might be going wrong with Natalee’s vacation.
Because of this, Beth could only be shocked and stunned by the news that her daughter could not be located. She could not believe anything but that her daughter was alive and well and would come home to her family at some point. Anything else seemed too unreal to believe.
Questions Emerge But Answers Remain Elusive
The police in Aruba had a lot of questions that they wanted answered in order to track down the girl. The first and most obvious question was: where did Natalee go after she was last seen? To find out her fate, police looked at the places she went to on the night before she vanished. Who was she was with and who might have been the last person to see her?
Despite the full police investigation efforts and plenty of media attention on the small Caribbean island, it has taken more than a decade to uncover any real evidence with the potential to offer any clues into what happened to the sweet teenage girl on that fateful night. First, it is important to know why Natalee was on vacation in Aruba in the first place.
Natalee Was in Aruba Celebrating Her High School Graduation
On May 24, 2005, Natalee graduated from Mountain Brook High School. Six days later, she was gone. She had gone to Aruba with a group from her Alabama school. The group was made up of 125 youngsters looking to celebrate one last time before embarking on the next chapter of their lives. They chose the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, considered to be a tropical paradise.
Natalee’s plans had been to go to the University of Alabama, where she would start a pre-med program. Nothing suggested the fate that awaited the ambitious 19 year old.
Natalee Was Very Popular and Active in High School
Natalee excelled in school. She was active in a variety of school activities, such as cheerleading and sports. She was also an excellent dancer. She had one brother, Matthew, who was younger.
The two had lived with their mother since their parents divorced in 1993. Her mother remarried a man named George Twitty in 2000.
Natalee Was Excited to Celebrate One Last Time with Her High School Friends
Natalee was excited for her Aruba adventure. She saw it as one last time to party with her pals from high school before heading off to college. No one had any idea that this would be her last trip.
When her friends and the school staff went to look for her, they found everything she had brought with her neatly packed. It seemed that she was ready to head home for her to start her next adventure at the University of Alabama.
Seven Adult Chaperones Went With the High School Group
No responsible organization would send 125 teenagers to an island in the Caribbean alone. They sent along seven adults to be chaperones for the recent high school graduates.
The group of adults say that they met with the teenagers daily to keep everyone safe but even their best efforts were not able to prevent what happened to Natalee.
Fun Was on the Agenda
The trip was planned to help the students unwind after their final exams in high school. It was set up to give them a break from their hard work at the end of the semester and let them unwind before starting their college education. The students saw it as a way to really let loose and party.
The drinking began almost immediately upon their arrival. The local police suspected the students of doing some drugs as well. The chaperones had no idea this was going on.
The Aruba Police Say the Students Were “Reckless”
The high school students’ wild behavior upset other people at the hotel. The group spend four nights at the Holiday Inn. According to Gerold Dompig, a police officer involved in the investigation into Natalee’s disappearance, the students were acting “recklessly” during their stay.
Other guests at the hotel had complained and the adults that accompanied the students were told they would not be allowed to stay there again if they brought students with them.
Natalee Drank Heavily with Her Friends
The Holiday Inn staff reported that they never saw the teen without a drink in her hand. They said her drinking began early in the morning and it did not let up until late into the night.
They said she missed several breakfasts because she was too hungover. This was confirmed by her two friends Claire and Liz.
Despite the Partying, the Trip Was Going Well
The first three days of the Aruba trip were going well. On the last night of their island vacation, the group went to a local bar, Carlos’ n’ Charlie’s.
This is where Natalee first met Joran Van der Sloot. He was a Dutch national and a high school student who lived in Aruba. He was 17 years old.
Leaving the Bar With An A Local Student
Van der Sloot went to that bar with his friends Satish and Deepak, two older classmates. He started talking to Natalee and she was taken in by his attractive looks and physique. She was seen leaving the bar with Van der Sloot at about 1:30 a.m.
Her friends thought she wanted a fun night with the cute boy she met. They assumed they would see her the next day when they all left Aruba. They were wrong. That was the last time anyone saw the teenager alive.
She Never Came Back
The adult chaperones on the trip became alarmed when they could not find Natalee the next morning. Calls to her cell phone went to voice mail. Her baggage and belongings, including her passport, were neatly arranged in her hotel room.
Everything seemed to be in order but they could not find Natalee. They noticed that no one had slept in her bed. They called the hotel management and the police. Then the search officially began.
No Stone Was Left Unturned
The Aruban police looked all over for Natalee. This included the waters around the hotel and the entire island, which is very small. From the high point on Aruba, you can see the entire island. The search area was not extensive but the search was.
Upon learning of Natalee’s disappearance, her mother, Beth, went with her husband to the island. Beth did everything she could think of to find her daughter. She wanted to know about the three boys Natalee was hanging out with the night she vanished.
Beth Holloway Went to the Aruban Police
Beth and Twitty went to the police when they arrived in Aruba. They told them everything they knew about Natalee’s last night in the area. They told them about the visit to Carlos’n Charlies, the boys Natalee met and everything else Natalee’s friends had shared with them.
They stayed in Natalee’s room at the hotel as they searched for their daughter. The hotel manager knew who Van der Sloot was and the police set about looking for the high school honors student.
Van der Sloot Is Questioned
The police took Natalee’s parents with them when they went to talk to Van der Sloot. For their part, Beth and Twitty thought they might find their daughter with him at his home. When they got to his house, they found his friend Deepak was there but not Natalee.
The pair said that they had no idea what happened to Natalee after they saw her to her hotel. They claimed that she was fine when they saw her last and denied any knowledge of what happened to the girl.
Van der Sloot Tells His Story to the Police
According to Van der Sloot, Natalee said she wanted to see the sharks around Arashi Beach so they were planning to go out to the California Lighthouse. The American teen changed her mind and asked to be taken to her hotel so that she would not miss her flight home, which was scheduled for early the next morning.
Van der Sloot told the police that Natalee had a lot to drink at the bar and was quite inebriated. He said she was barely able to walk. They said they saw what they thought was a hotel security guard walk up to Natalee but were not aware of what happened after that.
Natalee’s Parents Do Not Believe Van der Sloot
Natalee’s parents did not think Van der Sloot was telling the truth. The problem that the police had was that they did not have any evidence to tie the Dutch teen to the American teen’s disappearance. The local authorities, at Natalee’s parents’ urging, resumed the search and treated it more like a rescue than anything.
Thousands of local law enforcement personnel hit the island to search for Natalee. This was the largest search that was ever conducted on the small island. The Dutch government deployed military personnel and ships to participate in the search.
Money Is Raised to Help with the Search
The locals on Aruba wanted to help. The Holiday Inn gave Natalee’s parents a room for free and local banks raised money to help with the search. They were helped by a few volunteer organizations in the area.
Hotel staff poured over their security footage to see if they could find evidence of Natalee’s return to her room. Different people gave very different accounts of what they saw on the video footage.
Beth Holloway Questions the Video Cameras
Beth felt that the video surveillance system was not working properly on the night she arrived and could not have been functioning the night Natalee went missing. She gave a different account at one point when she admitted that there was no evidence on the footage that Natalee had returned to the hotel as Van der Sloot and his friends alleged.
She also said that the lack of any video evidence that her daughter had gone back to her hotel room did not mean Natalee had not gone back to the hotel. It was very possible for Natalee to get to her room at the hotel without passing through the lobby, where the security cameras were positioned. She contended that the lack of evidence was not proof of anything.
No Leads Emerge
Despite all of their hard work and best efforts, no leads were forthcoming in the search for the missing teen. Van der Sloot’s friend’s car was taken by the police. They wanted to search it for evidence connected to the disappearance of the American teenager. At first, the local law enforcement officials said that they had made the discovery of blood in the back seat but that was later found to not be the lead that they thought it would be.
The case was such a high profile one that the United State Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice even weighed in. She said that the State Department was in “constant contact” with the local authorities. She said that the United States government was helping in every way it could to help find Natalee and that they were giving support to the Aruban government to make sure everything was done to bring the girl home safely.
A Month After Her Disappearance, Conflicting Evidence Emerges
After a month of searching for the American teen, the evidence police gathered seemed to suggest different outcomes. At one point, two hotel security guards were taken into custody. The police suspected them of both assault and murder of the young girl. They were released when no real evidence linking them to her disappearance was found.
People in the areas had reported that the guards were known for trying to pick up young women at local bars. Then Van der Sloot was taken into custody, along with his two friends.
The Aruban Police Always Considered Van der Sloot A Suspect
While they may have let him go, the local police never stopped looking at Van der Sloot and his two high school classmates as suspects. They were suspects on day one of the investigation and they remained suspects throughout their search for the missing American girl. Their movements were under surveillance the entire time they looked for Natalee.
The law enforcement officers also tapped the boys’ phones and read their email messages. Soon after they took the boys back into custody they made a discovery that dashed any hope of finding the girl alive.
Aruba’s Minister of Justice Pronounce Natalee Dead
On June 9, 2005, it was announced that all the evidence the police had collected indicated that the American teen had been killed. The minister of justice announced that all of the evidence that had been collected indicated that Natalee was dead. This was a statement that he was forced to take back a few days later.
He then said that he had received the wrong information and that the case very very much still “open.” Local law enforcement said that they were working as hard as ever to find Natalee. They were working as hard as they could to find as much as they could about Van der Sloot and his friends.
Local Law Enforcement Becomes Desperate
By this time, the people working on the case of Natalee’s disappearance were becoming desperate. They started arresting a number of people whom they suspected of being involved in the case. Anyone they thought might have any information about Natalee’s disappearance of her last night one the island.
While they were in custody, Van der Sloot’s two friends changed their story of what happened the night hey met Natalee. Rather than just dropping the girl at the Holiday Inn, they now claimed they had left both the girl and Van der Sloot at the hotel. The pair then left and returned to their homes. For his part, Van der Sloot said he did nothing to hurt Natalee that night. The authorities were not convinced.
Despite Search Efforts, No Clues Are Found
Van der Sloot was kept in custody for at least two months but nothing linking him to Natalee’s disappearance was found. The Dutch government put a lot of resources into the search for the girl and still had found nothing to indicate what had happened the night she went missing.
They even went as far as to deploy planes with infrared sensors to look for her body in the waters around the island. However, the search proved fruitless.
Van der Sloot’s Friends Are Released
The judge overseeing the case thought Van der Sloot was holding something back but ordered the release of his two friends. The local police refocused their search on the spot where the two claimed they dropped Natalee and Van der Sloot off on the night she vanished.
New Witnesses Come Forward
Two people decided to come forward to give new evidence from the fateful night. A local gardener said that he witnessed Van der Sloot at some point between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. He claimed the high school student was still with his two friends and they were leaving the beach at the Marriott Hotel.
Another person claimed to see several men burying the body of a woman in a landfill. He had seen this while he was jogging. Both areas were searched by police but nothing was found.
A Reward Is Offered
Desperate for any information about their daughter, Beth and George Twitty put of a $50,000 reward for anyone who could tell them where to find their daughter. This was increased to $1 million when no one came forward offering any new information about the case or where to find Natalee.
For their part, the local police had done everything they possibly could to get new information from Van der Sloot’s friends. They had gone as far as to detain some of their friends but no new evidence came from that. They were still at square one with the search and the investigation.
Van der Sloot Is Released
With no tangible evidence connecting Van der Sloot to Natalee’s vanishing, the authorities had no choice but to let him go. The judge in the case told the suspect to remain available to law enforcement should they have more questions.
While the high school student was relieved to be out of jail, he was not out of the woods. More trouble awaited the Dutch teen.
Van der Sloot’s Release Prompts Media Frenzy
All the press wanted to talk to Van der Sloot after he got out of jail. He was interviewed by Fox News and he said that Natalee wanted to sleep with him but he declined her advances because he did not have any condoms with him that night. He claimed that it was he who wanted to get home because he had to go to school.
He claimed to ask his friend to pick him up but Satish, his friend, said this is not what happened. Satish said that after dropping Van der Sloot and Natalee off at the beach, he went home and went to bed.
Police Continue Searching for a Body
The local Aruban police still thought it was possible to find Natalee’s body. They enlisted the help of the FBI. They searched the beaches, the dunes, the waters around the island but no trace of Natalee could be found.
The FBI speculated that the teen could have could have suffered from a drug or alcohol overdose, which can be fatal. Natalee’s family was adamant that she never took any illegal drugs. The Aruban police had spent nearly $3 million on their search for Natalee and the investigations into her whereabouts. Frustration was mounting.
Van der Sloot Writes a Book
For his part, Van der Sloot took pen to paper in 2007. He detailed his account of what happened the night Natalee vanished. He went into detail about meeting the American teen. This prompted a new search of his residence.
Police dug up his yard looking for traces of the teen’s body. They took his computers and searched through his journals but no new evidence about Natalee’s disappearance was found.
Van der Sloot and Friends Are Brought Back into Custody
Once the search of Van der Sloot’s house and that of his two friends was finished, the three were taken back into custody. Van der Sloot was not in Aruba at the time but back in the Netherlands. Despite extensive questioning, no new evidence was garnered from the interrogations.
Two and a half years after she vanished, the case of Natalee Holloway’s disappearance was officially closed.
The Case Is Reopened
Not long after closing the Natalee Holloway case, a man stepped forward with what looked to be new, convincing evidence linking Van der Sloot to her disappearance. A crime reporter claimed he had a video confession. “Peter” showed footage that had been taken showing the suspect smoking pot with a friend in a car. In the video, Van der Sloot claims that Natalee had died. He claimed that, despite his efforts to revive her, he could not save the American teen.
He then had to call upon his friends to help him get rid of and hide her body. When the police took the video to the court, their request to have Van der Sloot arrested was denied. The court did not believe that the video was enough to detain the young man another time.
Van der Sloot Contradicts Himself
Over the course of the next 24 months, Van der Sloot would make a number of statements about the case and his involvement with Natalee’s disappearance. In one recording, he said that he had sold Natalee to man in Venezuela. The man was going to use the American teen as a sex slave. He asserted that his father was aware of everything he had done.
He said that his father had gone as far as to try to bribe the police in Aruba to stop investigating the case. This interview was later discounted as not being authentic.
Van der Sloot Tried to get Money from the Holloway Family
Five years after her disappearance, Van der Sloot contacted the Holloway family. He said that if they gave him $25,000, he would help them find their daughter’s body. The family immediately contacted law enforcement.
A monitored wire transfer was made into Van der Sloot’s bank account and the phones for the location of the body were tapped. When they went to the spot, nothing was found and Van der Sloot was charged with both fraud extortion. The police arrested him soon after.
Van der Sloot Is Arrested for Murder in Peru
Van der Sloot was arrested and convicted of killing a business school student in Peru. In May 2010, the body of the young student was found in a hotel room that Van der Sloot had booked. He was extradited from Chile, arrested, tried and convicted of the killing.
While it was not an arrest connected to Natalee, it clearly showed him to be capable of violence and murder.
Van der Sloot Confessed to Killing the Business School Student
While the police in Peru investigated the murder of the 22-year-old student, Van der Sloot confessed to murdering her. He said he did it because she was snooping around on his computer looking for personal information about him and his connection to Natalee’s murder. He claimed that when he found her doing this, he panicked.
He killed her and fled the scene. He offered to tell the Peruvian authorities where they could find Natalee’s body but they were not interested in that. They were only interested in information about the student killed in Peru.
Aruban Officials Go to Peru
Soon after Van der Sloot was arrested, Aruban investigators traveled to Peru to see if they could find any new evidence about Natalee’s disappearance. For his part, Van der Sloot was given a sentence of 28 years in Peruvian prison.
Dave Holloway, Natalee’s father, went to the state of Alabama and asked them to declare his daughter dead. Despite her mother’s objection, the state agreed and a declaration of death was made for Natalee Holloway.
Beth Refuses to Give Up on Her Daughter
While the man, who most think murdered Natalee, is in prison, Beth Twitty has not given up on finding Natalee. Beth has done multiple press interviews and written a book of her own. Her book details what she has been through and what she thinks happened the night of her daughter’s disappearance.
Beth has claimed that the police in Aruba ignored statements Van der Sloot made in which he said that he harmed Natalee.
Beth Says Van der Sloot Confessed to Having Sex with Natalee
Beth has told multiple media outlets that Van der Sloot gave intimate details about a sexual encounter he had with Natalee. She has also come under some criticism as people think she has focused too much of her energies on the trio of suspects when she should have been more open to other theories about the case.
Beth Changed Her Name Back to Holloway
After her marriage to George Twitty, Beth changed her name to his. Following the release of her book, Loving Natalee: A Mother’s Testament of Hope and Faith, she divorced Twitty and changed her name back to Holloway. She is still looking for her daughter’s remains and for justice in the case.
She says that she finds some solace in the fact that Van der Sloot is behind bars. She has said, “I think that what I do take comfort in, his life is a living hell.”
Beth’s Actions Are Scrutinized
Beth has been vocal about the way she feels the Aruban police treated her daughter’s disappearance but she has come under some fire herself for some things she did during the investigation.
While she was critical of the police for hurting her daughter’s reputation, some have alleged that her friends knew that Natalee had bought and possessed some illicit drugs but that Beth had instructed them to keep quiet about that and not tell the police that Natalee used drugs. Beth has also been an advocate for a boycott of the island and others that are under the control of the Dutch government.
Several Movies Have Been Made About Natalee’s Disappearance
The case of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway has gone on to be one of the most popular of the unsolved mysteries. It has been made into several movies for television and the big screen.
Beth’s book was adapted into a movie for the Lifetime network. When it was shown, it garnered some of the highest ratings in the network’s history.
Read on for the newest developments in Natalee’s case.
Natalee’s Parents Keep Digging for Clues
For years, Natalee Holloway’s parents refused to believe their daughter simply vanished off the face of the Earth. They also refused to believe that anyone other than Joran Van der Sloot was responsible for their beloved daughter’s disappearance. That is why they persistently kept on looking for new evidence, even when others told them they should give up.
12 years after she first went missing, Natalee’s father, Dave Holloway, hired a private investigator to look for new evidence in his daughter’s case. The investigator, a man named T.J. Ward, went through every known piece of evidence trying to dig up a new lead. Then one day, he finally found one.
Finally, a Reliable Informant
Holloway and Ward got in touch with a man named Gabriel who said he has new information about the missing Natalee. Having been friends with Joran Van der Sloot at the time of Natalee’s disappearance and possible murder, Holloway and Ward believed this informant could lead them to new information about Natalee’s fate.
After an 18-month-long investigation, the informant finally led Holloway and Ward to a solid piece of evidence—remains of a dead body, buried in Aruba. After examining the remains, it was concluded that they were, indeed, human.
But that wasn’t all.
What Really Happened, According to Gabriel
Gabriel and Joran Van der Sloot were roommates back in 2005. During that time, Joran had allegedly told Gabriel that he tried to kiss Natalee, and slipped her some GHB, also known as the date rape drug. After a while, Natalee began to foam at the mouth. Then, she began to throw up and eventually choked to death on her own vomit. Van der Sloot panicked and contacted his father, Paulus Van der Sloot, for help.
According to Gabriel, Van der Sloot confessed to him that he and his father cut Natalee’s legs off and placed her in a burlap sack. After that, they buried her in an Aruban park. Then, they planted a cactus on top of the burial site, hoping this would eliminate any suspicion. That park is where Dave Holloway and T.J. Ward eventually found human remains.
So far, it was confirmed that the body found belonged to a female of eastern European descent. So has the Natalee Holloway case finally been solved? We should soon find out.
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