Natalee Holloway was born on 21 October 1986 in Mississippi and grew up in the close-knit community of Mountain Brook, a suburb in Alabama. She was a well-liked and popular classmate and achieved high grades as an ambitious and intelligent student, graduating with honours from Mountain Brook High School in May 2005. At high school Holloway had taken part in several of the extra-curricular clubs such as the dance team and a volunteer club which interacted with foreign exchange students. She had also received a scholarship to the University of Alabama and had planned to study for a pre-med degree, to qualify for a career as a paediatrician. On 26 May 2005, Holloway and 124 graduates from the Mountain Brook High School arrived in Aruba for an end of term celebratory five-day trip. Holloway had only graduated two days beforehand and she and fellow students were looking forward to letting their hair down after their exams. Due to the amount of people on the trip, the students enjoyed relative freedom but they had been accompanied by seven chaperones to ensure that their welfare was monitored from a distance. Celebration was the by-word of the holiday and the Mountain Brook pupils accordingly revelled in “wild partying and drinking” according to reports. On 29th May Holloway was last seen by her classmates leaving the Carlos 'n Charlie's nightclub at around 1.30 am with Dutch student Joran van der Sloot and his two Surinamese friends, Deepak Kalpoe, 21, and Satish Kalpoe, 18. The next day, the students left on their way to the airport to fly back home to Alabama but Holloway did not show up for the return flight. Her packed luggage and passport were found in her Holiday Inn hotel bedroom but there was no sign of her. The Aruban authorities were immediately called and soon a missing persons search had begun to try and find the teenager. Following the news that her daughter had seemed to have vanished, her mother Beth and stepfather George 'Jug' Twitty flew straight to Aruba and within four hours presented the police with the name and address of van der Sloot, after quizzing Holloway's friends and the night manager of the Holiday Inn. Hundreds of people volunteered to help search for Holloway, working alongside the FBI and fifty Dutch soldiers. Divers searched the sea floor and on 2 June 2005 Holloway's family issued an undisclosed reward for any information which may lead to her safe return. The Aruban government and local tourism companies also contributed to the reward money. Reports indicate that Holloway failed to appear on any security camera footage from her hotel's lobby during the course of the night. However, according to initial head of the police investigation, Commissioner Jan van der Straten, she did not have to go via the lobby to return to her room, so it would have proved little help in discovering what may have happened to her. The American law enforcement were heavily involved in the investigation from the beginning, co-operating with the Aruban authorities in extensive searches including a local landfill and a pond near the beach where it was claimed Holloway had last be seen by van der Sloot. The Netherlands even deployed aircraft with infrared sensors to compare satellite photographs taken before Holloway's disappearance but all proved fruitless.
24 May 2005 - Holloway graduates from Mountain Brook High School and leaves for a five-day trip to Aruba30 May 2005 - Holloway leaves Carlos' n Charlie's bar around 1 am and is last seen getting into a car outside the club31 May 2005 - Holloway fails to catch her return flight home. Police find her passport in her hotel room with her packed bags4 June 2005 - Police pinpoint three Aruban men as their lead suspects6 June 2005 - An expanded search for Holloway begins8 June 2005 - Micky John and Abraham Jones are arrested9 June 2005 - Joran van der Sloot, Deepak Kalpoe and Satish Kalpoe are arrested23 June 2005 - Paul van der Sloot is arrested4 July 2005 - Deepak Kalpoe and Satish Kalpoe are released25 July 2005 - Holloway's family increases the reward for information leading to her safe return to $1 million1 September 2005 - Joran van der Sloot is released but remains a suspect14 September 2005 - All restrictions on the remaining suspects are removed but they technically remain suspects10 November 2005 - Paul van der Sloot wins an unjust detention action and is no longer legally a suspect29 March 2006 - Aruban authorities resume the search for Natalee Holloway15 April 2006 - "GVC", 19, is arrested but the identity is not revealed21 November 2007 - Joran van der Sloot, Satish Kalpoe and Deepak Kalpoe are re-arrested1 December 2007 - Satish Kalpoe and Deepak Kalpoe are released7 December 2007 - Joran van der Sloot is released18 December 2007 - The investigation is closed due to lack of evidence31 January 2008 - The investigation is reopened with new evidence from Dutch journalist Peter R de Vries
Joran van der Sloot, Deepak Kalpoe and Satish Kalpoe were arrested on 9 June 2005 on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering Holloway. The three youngsters had been named early on in the hunt for Holloway as they had been identified with her outside the Carlos 'n Charlie's club, the last known sighting of the teenager before she vanished.Police Commissioner Gerold Dompig, who took over from Jan van der Straten following his retirement in mid-2005, stated that the three had been suspects from the start and they had been under police surveillance via telephone wire taps and the monitoring of their emails.On 17 June 2005, a fourth person, Steve Gregory Croes, was also arrested based on information given by one of the other three detainees and on 22 June 2005 police also arrested Paulus van der Sloot, Joran van der Sloot's father. Both Paulus van der Sloot and Croes were released a few days later.The stories given by the three detained suspects kept changing as to what had happened to Holloway. All three alibis matched in so far as saying that van der Sloot and Holloway were dropped off at the Marriott Hotel beach near the fishermen's huts. However, van der Sloot stated that he did not harm Holloway in any way and had merely left her on the beach. Van der Sloot's account was continuously altered and later, during his interrogation, he panicked and changed his story to say that in fact he had been dropped off at home and Holloway was driven off by the Kalpoe brothers.Dompig immediately disbelieved this new version of events on the basis that Van der Sloot had started to worry that the Kalpoe brothers were trying to point the finger in his direction and in return he thought he would place the blame on them.On 4 July 2005, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe were released from custody following hearings before a judge, but Joran van der Sloot was held for a further 60 days.The Kalpoe brothers were rearrested on 26 August 2005 along with another new suspect, Freddy Arambatzis, 21, who was suspected of having physical contact with an underage girl; an incident which had allegedly occurred before Holloway disappeared and in which Arambatzis's friends van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers had apparently been involved. Van der Sloot's mother, Anita, commented, "It's a desperate attempt to get the boys to talk”.On 3 September 2005, all of the detained suspects were released by a judge and subsequently, on 14 September 2005, all restrictions on them were removed by the Combined Appeals Court of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. They had not found enough substantial evidence to convict any of the suspects.Between April and May 2006, three more people were arrested on suspicion of being involved in Holloway's disappearance but despite being extensively questioned, all of them were also released without charge.By 2006, the Aruban authorities had exhausted their leads in the case and requested that the Netherlands instead took over the investigation. The Dutch National Police began work afresh on the case in September 2006 and a new search was launched at the van der Sloot family home in April 2007. A month later, police turned their attentions to the other original prime suspects, the Kalpoe brothers, and on 21 November 2007, the three original suspects in the case, the Kalpoe brothers and van der Sloot, were all rearrested. All three were released by December 2007, with the court determining that there was still not enough evidence to conclude that the suspects had anything to do with Holloway's disappearance.On 18 December 2007, Holloway's case was officially declared closed. In total, ten people were arrested on suspicion of being involved in Holloway's disappearance but no charges were filed and no one remains in custody.
No trial has ever taken place in the Natalee Holloway case, as no one has been charged with her disappearance and her body has never been found.“I would have liked to have seen a trial so that everything could be out in the open.” - Joran van der SlootIn the months following his release, Joran van der Sloot gave several interviews, expanding upon his version of events and in each, maintained his story that he had left Holloway on her own on the beach after saying that he had to go to school in the morning and her insisting she would be fine left alone by herself.The FBI and Aruban authorities started interviewing several of Holloway's fellow graduates back in the United States in January 2006 and also searched sand dunes on the northwest coast of Aruba for her body, as well as areas close by the Marriott beach but she was still not found.On 31 January 2008, Dutch crime reporter Peter R de Vries claimed that he had solved the Holloway case and revealed a supposed confession from Joran van der Sloot, which had been secretly filmed whilst he was under the influence of marijuana. In the tape, van der Sloot said that he was with Holloway when she became unresponsive after drinking too much and he had tried to revive her but with no success. He then claimed he called a friend who told him to go home and disposed of her body for him. The Aruban authorities tried to get an arrest warrant for van der Sloot following the airing of the filmed confession but their request was denied and van der Sloot has since denied that what he said was true.
On 5 June 2005 Aruban police detained Antonius ‘Mickey’ John and Abraham Jones, former security guards for the nearby Allegro Hotel, which had been closed at the time of Holloway's disappearance.The two were well-known locally for hanging around hotels and picking up women. After being interrogated by police for several days, they were released without charge on 13 June 2005.
The Key Figures
Police Commissioners: Jan van der Straten Gerold DompigSuspects: Antonius ‘Mickey’ John, 30 Abraham Jones, 28 Joran van der Sloot Deepak Kalpoe, 21 Satish Kalpoe, 18 Steve Gregory Croes Paulus van der Sloot Freddy Arambatzis, 21Crime reporter: Peter R de Vries