When Natalee Holloway disappeared during her high school graduation trip back in 2005, the entire world knew every inch of her face and every detail surrounding her disappearance. Now some ten years later, dead ends and hopeless leads have left the investigation nowhere but, some recent and shocking developments have come out that just can’t be ignored.
Who Was Natalee Holloway?
Natalee Holloway was the oldest child, born on October 21, 1986, of parents David and Beth Holloway. After her parents divorce in 1993, Natalee and her younger brother, Matt, were then raised by their mother. In 2000, Beth remarried to George Twitty, a prominent Alabama businessman, and the whole family moved to Mountain Brook, Alabama.
Natalee had a very bright future ahead of her. She graduated with honors from Mountain Brook High School; was a member of the National Honor Society, dance team, and various other extracurricular activities. Natalee was also scheduled to attend the University of Alabama on a full scholarship, and more impressive, she planned to pursue a major in pre-med.
Senior Class Trip
When Natalee approached her parents about going to Aruba for a senior class trip, they had no problems saying “yes” as she was a bright and wonderful daughter. With about 100 other students, she jetted off to Aruba on Thursday, May 26, 2005. The trip was meant to last five days, accompanied with four chaperones.
Everyone stayed at the Aruba Holiday Inn and buddied up so that each graduate had a roommate. The days were spent swimming, snorkeling, gambling, and going out to the best hot-spots in the evenings.
On the last night of the Aruba trip, it happened to be a Saturday night, and everyone wanted to do one last hurrah. After dinner, almost everyone headed over to the local beach bar, Carlos’n Charlie’s.
It was at the bar where Natalee met 17-year-old Joran. Many of her classmates would say just a couple days later, that Joran seemed like an average, nice guy. That night Natalee left Carlos’n Charlie’s, in the back seat of a car, together with Joran and two of his friends, the Kalpoe brothers, 21-year-old Deepak Kalpoe and 18-year-old Satish Kalpoe. This would be the last time Natalee was ever seen again.
Who is Joran Van der Sloot?
Joran van der Sloot was born on August 6, 1987 to parents Paul, a lawyer, and Anita, an art teacher. In 1990, the family moved from Arnhem to Aruba. Joran was an honor student at the International School of Aruba and was also considered a star soccer and tennis athlete. He had high hopes to play soccer at Saint Leo University near Tampa, Florida. Joran’s mother commented saying he had a problem with lying and also had a tendency to sneak out to go to casinos.
The next morning, the senior class is leaving Aruba on a morning flight. As they’re boarding, they notice Natalee is not on-board and assume either she’s overslept or is sneaking in one last stroll on the beach. However as they all begin chatting about where she might be, they realize that she never came back the night before. News starts to reach them that the chaperones are struggling to locate Natalee. They searched the hotel, the surrounding areas, and the beach but all they found in her hotel room was her packed luggage and passport. No Natalee.
When Natalee’s mother, Beth, was informed by the chaperone’s that her daughter missed her flight, she knew something was wrong. Immediately, she and her husband flew to Aruba with a few friends by a private jet.
Search Is On
The search for Natalee was well underway, hundreds of volunteers flooded the areas – the Aruban government had given their workers the day off to help with the search. 50 Dutch marines were also sent over from the Netherlands to search for Natalee.
Van Der Sloot Is Questioned
Joran initially told police that he dropped Natalee off at the hotel sometime around 2am and that he didn’t see her again. He also said that Natalee was approached by an unknown man wearing a black shirt as she was walking into the hotel. Van der Sloot assumed the man was a hotel security guard as he was dressed similarly. After he saw she was okay, he and his friends drove away.
While many assumed that Joran van der Sloot would be the first suspect arrested, he wasn’t. On June 5, 2005, two former security guards, from a nearby hotel Allegro Hotel, were arrested first, Nick John (pictured below) and Abraham Jones. Both were arrested on grounds of suspicion on murder and kidnapping but no evidence was ever found and they were released a week later.
Story Is Viral
Two days after Natalee Holloway disappeared, the media in the United States got whiff of the story and thus started a media frenzy. Fox News Channel ran a one-minute summary: “Tonight, a frantic search is underway for a missing Alabama girl,” Greta Van Susteren said. After this, Natalee’s story made headlines everywhere and there wasn’t a soul alive who didn’t know about the missing Alabama girl.
After the release of the two security guards, the police were forced to look elsewhere. On June 9, 2005, they arrested Joran Van der Sloot and his two friends the Kalpoe brothers, on suspicion of kidnapping and murder. Police obtained a search warrant to search Joran’s house but nothing was found. On September 14, the Combined Appeals Court of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba removed all restrictions against the three suspects. Including a travel restriction but all charges were dropped and Joran even returned to the Netherlands to attend university.
Shortly after Joran and his friends were arrested, an additional two suspects were also taken into custody, Steve Gregory Croes (a disc jockey) and Paulus van der Sloot, Joran’s father. Croes was a suspect from the beginning as he was mentioned in Joran’s original statement. However, both suspects had alibis and were released days after their initial arrests.
A year since Natalee’s disappearance and police still where nowhere in the investigation. Joran had basically been on a media tour spewing his innocence, but on March 1, 2006, during an interview with, “On the Record,” much changed. It was no surprise to anyone that Joran had changed his story with the police but this time, he did it publicly. He admitted that he had gone with Natalee to the beach the night she disappeared and that he left there alone. He and the Kalpoe brothers never dropped her off at the hotel.
In April of 2006, Natalee’s father, David, published a tell-all book, Aruba: The Tragic Untold Story of Natalee Holloway and Corruption in Paradise. The book was essentially his story of the search for his daughter and the investigation at hand. David also speculated of all the possible horrible tragedies that could have happened and how the all of the police’s leads led to dead ends.
A year later, in June 2007, Joran van der Sloot published his own version of events surrounding Natalee’s disappearance. The book is titled “De zaak Natalee Holloway” (The Case of Natalee Holloway). There is an abridged memoir, stories of his time in jail, and of course, his take on what happened the night he met Natalee. although he still maintains his innocence.
On November 21, 2007, Joran and the Kalpoe brothers are rearrested. Their arrests came after discovering an internet chat log where Joran states that Natalee was dead the day she disappeared. Unfortunately, the police could not, yet again, find enough hard evidence to charge any of the three suspects. The Kalpoe brothers were then released on November 30 while Joran was released on December 7. By mid-December, the Aruban police had no more leads and declared the case closed.
More New Stories
In February of 2008, an undercover Dutch journalist, Peter de Vries, taped Joran confessing to having disposed of Natalee’s body. Joran stated that Natalee was very drunk, had a seizure on the beach the night she disappeared, and died in his arms. Joran further said that a friend helped him to dispose of the body in the ocean. Sadly enough, the video of Joran admitting this was not legally obtained and could not be used as evidence. Police did attempt to arrest Joran, but a judge denied their request.
Fast forward to November 25, 2008, and Joran yet again is with journalist Greta Van Susteren on talk show, “On the Record.” However, in this interview, he changes his story YET again. This time Joran claims to have sold Natalee into slavery for $10,000. That he put her on a boat and watched as she disappear into the distance. He said that he was paid again to keep his silence. But later on, Joran came forward and said that this also a fabricated story.
The Lifetime Movie Network aired the TV film adaption, titled Natalee Holloway, of Beth Holloway’s own book “Loving Natalee,” in April 2009. The film created scenarios of what may have happened to Natalee during her final days and the police investigation following her disappearance. This movie was viewed by 3.2 million people, which helped to create a new public interest in the case.
In March of 2010, Joran contacted Beth Holloway and said he was willing to tell her just where her daughter is buried, but he would only do so if she paid him $250,000 dollars. Beth wired Joran $15,000, and $10,000 more was handed to him in cash by an undercover cop in Aruba. Unfortunately, Joran provided the family with a false location and was charged with extortion. On top of that, Joran escaped Aruba to Peru, before he could be arrested.
Two months after he extorted Beth for money, the day was May 30, 2010, which was the five year anniversary of Natalee’s disappearance. The same day, now five years later, they body of 21 year old college student, Stephany Flores (pictured below), was found in Peru. Her mutilated body had been found in Joran’s hotel room and he fled to Chile. Luckily, the Peruvian police extradited him back to the country, where he faced charges for the horrible murder and was sentenced in court. This did mean that his extortion charges in the United States could not move forward.
After Joran spent two years in a Peruvian jail, he finally confessed to murdering Stephany Flores. His lawyer informed the media that he killed Flores under “extreme psychological trauma,” that he had experienced from being accused of killing Natalee Holloway. While in Peruvian court Joran said, “I truly am sorry for this act. I feel very bad.” Joran was sentenced to 28 years in jail.
The day before Joran was sentenced to Peruvian prison, Dave Holloway had Natalee Holloway pronounced legally dead. The Alabama Judge, Alan King, ruled that Dave did meet all the legal requirements in order to make such a declaration. Natalee’s mother, Beth, strongly opposed the idea.
On July 4, 2014 Joran married a Peruvian woman, Leidy Figueroa (pictured below). Their ceremony took place in the prison where Joran is currently being held. Additionally, Leidy is also pregnant with his child, gave birth to their daughter, Dushy, later in 2014. Joran and Leidy met while she was visiting her relative in the same prison.
In May of 2015, a new witness stepped forward. Jurrien de Jong claimed to have Joran carrying Natalee’s lifeless body in a locked construction site. He said that when Joran walked out of the area, he was no longer holding Natalee’s body. Jurrien did not come forward sooner as he was involved with Aruba’s drug trade and was illegally living in Aruba. Jurrien said the construction site was the Marriott Hotel’s Spyglass Tower. After investigation, the police said that, “…on the 30th of May 2005, no construction or building activities were started at the location that Mr. De Jong has specifically pointed out as the spot where Natalee Holloway would have been hidden and/or buried.” Natalee’s father, however, never believed this as Google Earth images do show an outline of a structure that could have been a construction site.
Just in March of 2016, reporters from ‘RadarOnline’ were sent with to the Peruvian Prison where Joran is currently serving with a hidden camera. On the video, he said, “I always lied to the police, I never told the truth. I made up so many stories against the police… Also when I was younger, I never told everything. The police just never knew what they had to ask me.” He also went on to say that he believes it was the worse police investigation that ever took place.
One of the reporters asked Joran if he was referring to the Natalee Holloway case and Joran replied, “Yes, this is also where I am guilty and I accept everything that I have done.” However, he never directly admitted to killing Natalee. He also said the murder of Stephany Flores was due to cocaine consumption and not “extreme psychological trauma” like his lawyer had said.
In Aruba, for a confession to actually be liable, it must be hand-written and signed. Natalee’s parents both believe that Joran was working with the respective tabloids just to make some cash. Dave and Beth both hope that Joran stays behind bars and that they hope, one day, they find her, whatever the circumstance.