Natalee Holloway’s disappearance captivated the world, after she suddenly vanished from her high school graduation trip, in 2005. Over ten years of dead ends and following leads, there has been recent developments detailed in this article that may help finally solve the case.
Meet Natalee HollowayNatalee was the oldest child of David and Beth Holloway. She had one younger brother, Matt. Her parents got divorced in 1993, and her and her brother were predominantly raised by their mother. In 2000, Beth remarried a notable Alabama businessman. Both Natalee and Matt moved to Mountain Brook, Alabama to live with their mother and new step-father.
She Had A Bright Future AheadNatalee was a member of the National Honor society, school dance team, and other extra curricular activities. She had a scholarship to the University of Alabama. She was going to be a pre-med major. Therefore, when Natalee wanted to go on her senior class trip to Aruba, in 2005, her parents easily consented. She was a good kid and had earned her right to go with her fellow seniors.
The Senior Class TripNatalee flew to Aruba with around 100 of her fellow students on Thursday, May 26, 2005. The Mountain Brook High School senior class was only supposed to be in Aruba for 5 days. The students were accompanied by 4 chaperones. However, due to the circumstances, we have learned that the 4 chaperones may not have been enough supervision for the trip.
She Was Very CarefulClaire Fierman was one of Natalee’s best friends, since she had moved to Alabama. She told Glamour magazine that Natalie was very careful and “not a rule bender.” She recalls a time when Natalee had received her license and gotten a car before Claire. Natalee would never let Claire drive, even when she begged. Unfortunately, Natalee’s carefulness slipped the one time she needed it most.
Vacation CelebrationThe seniors were staying at the Aruba Holiday Inn. Every student had roommates, so in theory a student was never alone. Natalee and her friends spent the week snorkeling, gambling, and going out with friends. Many of the students would get dressed up each night, have dinner at the hotel together and then head to a local hangout spot for young people.
The Last Night OutIt was Saturday night, the last night of the trip, so all the seniors decided to go out before heading home. Most of the class had dinner together and then many of the students headed to the local beach bar, Carlos’n Charlie’s. Natalee did not have a boyfriend, so she did what many other 17-year-old girls would do, meet boys.
She Meets Joran Van der SlootJoran Van Der Sloot met Natalee on her last fateful night out in Aruba. Joran van der Sloot was born in the Netherlands to Paul and Anita van der Sloot. In 1990, his family moved from the Netherlands to Aruba. Joran flourished in Aruba, where he was an honor student at the International School. He was a stellar athlete, excelling in soccer and tennis. He hoped to play sports at the collegiate level in Florida.
She Left In A CarNatalee becomes enamored with 17-year-old Joran, when she meets him at the bar. He seemed like a good, normal guy, some of her fellow classmates recalled a few days later. Natalee left Carlos’n Charlie’s, in the back seat of a car, with Joran and two of his friends the Kalpoe brothers – 21-year-old Deepak Kalpoe and 18-year-old Satish Kalpoe. This was the last time Natalee was ever seen.
Missed Flight Creates WorryThe following morning it was time for the senior class to leave. They had a morning flight, so many quickly packed their things and headed to the airport. Once students began to board, people began noticing Natalee was not on the flight. Friends originally thought she was just being absentminded and was still lounging on the beach.
She’s MissingOriginally, Natalee’s friends were not worried. However, they soon found out that Natalee had not returned the night before. Friends began receiving calls while still inflight with updates about Natalee. They were told the situation was not looking good. Chaperones had returned to the hotel to look for Natalee. Unfortunately, they did not find her on the beach or anywhere in the hotel. All the chaperones found was her packed luggage and passport.
Students Gather At The Holloway’s HomeEight of Natalee’s fellow students went to the Holloway’s home. However, Natalee’s mom had already gotten on a flight to Aruba. Through phone calls, they told Natalee’s mother, Beth all they could about the previous night. Someone recalled Joran van der Sloot and explained how he seemed like a normal guy but he saw Natalee leave with him.
Beth Goes To Joran’s HouseBeth Holloway had somehow managed to find Joran van der Slooth’s address. She decided to personally go to the residence.The van der Slooths refused to speak to Beth. She was on the phone with the 8 students who were back in Alabama. She asked them to recall any information they knew about Joran so she could yell it outside the residence. However, after much pleading Beth gave up, after being ignored by the family.
Mom Believes She Was KidnappedOnce Beth had received the call from the chaperone’s that Natalee had missed the flight, she knew something was wrong. She knew Natalee was never late. She immediately called the Police and FBI and told them her daughter had been kidnapped in Aruba. Aruban police began to search the island and even questioned Joran.
The Search BeginsSearches for Natalee began immediately after her parents reported her disappearance. Hundreds of volunteers searched the area. The Aruban government gave their workers the day off to help with the search. Fifty Dutch marines were also sent over from the Netherlands also to help look for Natalee.
Police Question Van der SlootJoran said he had dropped Natalee off at the hotel around 2am. He did not see her again. He also stated that Natalee was approached by a man in a black shirt while she was walking into the hotel. Van der Sloot told police he assumed the man who approached her was a hotel security guard. After, him and his friends believed she was safe, they just drove away.
One-Minute News Report Causes FrenzyBy June 1, 2005, only 2 days after Natalee’s disappearance, media in the states had gotten ahold of the information. A Fox news channel had broken the story with a one-minute summary. “Tonight, a frantic search is underway for a missing Alabama girl,” Greta Van Susteren said. The story caught like wildfire and soon people like Bill O’Reilly at Fox News and Dan Abrams at MSNBC were also covering the story, making Natalee’s disappearance a national news story.
First ArrestUnlike many would suspect, Joran van der Sloot was not the first one arrested by police. On June 5, 2005 two former security guards, from a hotel nearby, were arrested -Nick John (pictured below) and Abraham Jones. They were arrested on grounds of suspicion of murder and kidnapping. However, no evidence was found against them and they were released on June 13.
Van der Sloot And Friends ArrestedAfter arresting the two security guards and hitting a dead end, police decided to investigate into other leads. On June 9, 2005 Joran Van der Sloot and his two friends he Kalpoe brothers, Deepak and Satish, were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and murder. Police obtained a warrant in order to search the Van der Sloot’s home. Nothing was found.
More Arrests Lead To More Dead EndsSoon after Joran and his friends were arrested, 2 more suspects were taken into custody: Disc jockey Steve Gregory Croes and Paulus van der Sloot, Joran’s father. Croes was originally suspected because he was mentioned in Joran’s original statement. However, both had alibis and were released only a few days after their initial arrest.
Charges And Restrictions DroppedBy the middle of September 2005, it looked like the police had a high suspicion that Joran and possibly the Kalpoe brothers were involved with Natalee’s disappearance. However, on September 14, the Combined Appeals Court of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba removes all restrictions, including travel, against the suspects. All charges were also dropped. Joran went back to the Netherlands to attend university.
Beth Holloway Boycotts ArubaBeth Holloway was understandably very upset about the disappearance of her daughter. However, she decided she would take her grievance to a higher level. She tried to join forces with the Alabama government and boycott the island of Aruba. This idea made many Aruban natives despise the Holloway family. Many felt the Aruban government had done everything in its power in order to solve the Natalee Holloway case.
Joran Changes His StoryAlmost a year had passed since Natalee disappeared. Police were no further along in their investigation. Joran has essentially begun a media tour to proclaim his innocence. One interview, however, became very infamous. On March 1, 2006 he had an interview on the show “On the Record.” Although he had changed his story before, Joran was publicly changing his story this time. He said he had gone with Natalee to the beach that night and left her there alone. He and the Kalpoe brothers had not dropped her off at her hotel.
Police Announce New ArrestIn April 2006, the Aruban police announced they had made another arrest in Natalee Holloway case. Police arrested 19-year-old, Geoffrey van Cromvoirt (pictured). Van Cromvoirt’s family owned the private security company that would sometimes patrol the beaches outside of the Aruban hotels. However, no hard evidence was found against him and he was released a few days later.
Dad’s Story Of The SearchIn April 2006, Natalee’s father, David published “Aruba: The Tragic Untold Story of Natalee Holloway and Corruption in Paradise.” The book was his story of the search for Natalee and about the continuing investigation to find her. David accounted all the possible horrific tragedies that could have happened to his daughter and all the leads that led to dead ends.
Joran Rebuttals With His StoryIn June 2007, Joran van der Sloot publishes his version of the night Natalee disappeared. The book is titled “De zaak Natalee Holloway” (The Case of Natalee Holloway). The book contained an abridged memoir as well as his time in jail and his views on Natalee’s disappearance. He discusses the night he met Natalee but still maintains his innocence.
New Evidence Leads To RearrestsOn November 21, 2007 Joran and the Kalpoe brothers were rearrested. Their arrests were made after an internet chat log emerged in which Joran states Natalee was dead the day she disappeared. Unfortunately, once again police could not find enough hard evidence to charge any of the suspects. The Kalpoe brothers were released on November 30, and Joran was released on December 7. By the middle of December, Aruban police had no more leads to follow and declared the case closed.
Joran Changes His Story Again…In February 2008, undercover dutch journalist Peter de Vries tapes Joran confessing to disposing Natalee’s body (still image below). Joran said Natalee was very drunk and she had a seizure on the beach the night of her disappearance. She died in his arms. Joran had a friend help him dispose of the body in the ocean. However, the video was not legally obtained and therefore, couldn’t be used as evidence. Police tried to arrest Joran, however, a judge denied their request.
…And AgainOn November 25, 2008, Joran once again joins Greta Van Susteren for an interview during “On the Record.” This time he completely changes his story. However, it is one that makes him no less guilty. This time Joran says he sold Natalee into slavery for $10,000. He put her on a boat and watched her disappear in the distance. He was paid again to keep his silence. However, he later came out to the media and said this was, too, a fabricated story.
Movie Brings New Life To CaseThe Lifetime Movie Network aired “Natalee Holloway,” a TV film adaptation of Beth Holloway’s book “Loving Natalee,” in April 2009. The film created reenactments of what may have happened to Natalee during her final days and the investigation that followed after her disappearance. The movie was viewed by 3.2million people, creating a new public interest in the case.
Joran Says He’s Ready To Tell Where The Body IsIn March 2010, Joran contacts Beth Holloway and says he is willing to tell her where her daughter is buried. However, he will only do so for the $250,000 reward. Beth wired Van der Sloot, $15,000, and he was given $10,000 in cash by an undercover cop in Aruba. However, Joran gave the family a false location and he was charged with extortion. However, he escaped Aruba to Peru, before he was able to be arrested.
Joran Commits An Anniversary MurderOn May 30, 2010 – the 5 year anniversary of Natalee’s disappearance – 21-year-old college student Stephany Flores (pictured below) is killed in Peru. Her body was found in Van der Sloot’s hotel room. Joran had fled to Chile. However, Peruvian police extradited him back to the country. He would face charges for the murder and be sentenced in court. Therefore, his extortion charges back in the United States took a back seat.
Joran Confesses To One MurderAfter spending 2 years in Peruvian jail, Joran confessed to the murder of Stephany Flores. His lawyer told media he killed Flores due to “extreme psychological trauma” he had experienced from being accused of killing Natalee. In Peruvian court Joran said “I truly am sorry for this act. I feel very bad.” He was sentenced to 28 years in jail.
Possible Remains PhotographedA couple, from Pennsylvania, was vacationing in Aruba, when they decide to go on a snorkeling excursion. After developing their pictures, in March 2010, they believed they captured what could be Natalee’s remains on the ocean floor. Aruban officials followed the lead but were unable to find anything. Police say the picture is most likely just coral.
Beth Confronts Joran In JailIn September 2010, Beth Holloway decided to take a trip down to Peru. She went and visited Joran in jail (jail surveillance video still pictured). In an interview with CBS she said “I really felt like for me to move on, what I wanted to recover her remains because I was so heavy into this communication with about, you know, that he knows where her remains are.” Beth got inside the prison and she was able to confront Joran briefly. However, once guards realized who she was, they quickly escorted out of the prison.
Natalee Declared Legally DeadThe day before Joran is sentenced to Peruvian prison, Dave Holloway had Natalee pronounced legally dead. Alabama Judge, Alan King, had ruled Dave Holloway met all the legal requirements in order to make the declaration. Natalee’s mother, Beth, opposed to idea. Dave Holloway has been quoted as saying unless she is miraculously found, the ruling was to come eventually.
Joran Gets Married In PrisonEven after all the awful things Joran had done, he still managed to find love. On July 4, 2014 Joran married Peruvian Leidy Figueroa (pictured). The ceremony took place at the prison where Joran is currently being held. Leidy is also pregnant with his child. They met when Leidy was visiting her relative, in the same prison. His lawyer told media he was not getting married to avoid extradition to the United States, after his Peruvian sentence was over, but he was marrying for love.
Joran Is Stabbed, Police Say Self-InflictedIn November 2014, reports arose that Joran was stabbed multiple times while in his jail cell. He claims it was the other prisoners. However, the Prison Chief said the wounds were self-inflicted, done to get sympathy from others. Van der Slooth’s new bride brought the event to the media’s attention after she was able to smuggle his bloodied shirt out of the prison.
A New LeadIn May 2015, a new witness with new information went to police. Jurrien de Jong (pictured) said he saw Joran carrying Natalee’s lifeless body in a locked construction site. However, when he walked out of the area, he was no longer holding the body. Jurrien de Jong did not come forward before because he was involved with Aruba’s drug trade and was illegally living in Aruba. Natalee’s father said this testimony may be the key to finding her.
Claims DebunkedAfter Dave Holloway asked Aruban police to look into de Jong’s testimony, they began investigating. Jurrien de Jong claimed the construction site he saw was the Marriott Hotel’s Spyglass Tower. Aruban police asked the Marriott for any information they had on the construction of the tower. Unfortunately, the Chief Prosecutor’s office released a statement saying ” it becomes indisputably clear 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.”
Father: Prosecution Is Wrong, There Was ConstructionHowever, Dave Holloway disagrees with the prosecutor’s findings. A satellite image on Google Earth, taken in June 2005, shows the outline of a structure that may be a construction site. Dave Holloway also says he remembers the site being there the day after his daughter’s disappearance. He has also said he has information that the site began construction in February of 2005. The site had not been searched as it was believed to have been securely locked.
Hidden Cameras Catch ConfessionIn March 2016, reporters from RadarOnline were sent with hidden camera to the Peruvian Prison where Joran is currently serving. On the video (video still below) he says “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 he feels it was the worse police investigation to ever take place.
Tells More Information On TapeOne of the reporters continued to ask Joran if he was referring to the Natalee Holloway case, in which . Joran says “Yes, this is also where I am guilty and I accept everything that I have done.” However, he never directly said he killed Natalee. He also admits that the murder of Stephany Flores was fueled by cocaine and not “extreme psychological trauma” like his lawyer originally said in court.