ORANJESTAD, Aruba – Islanders attending church services Sunday prayed for a break in the case of a missing Alabama (search) honors student, which just the day before appeared close to resolution after one of three young men in custody told Aruban police "something bad happened" to the woman.
Prosecutors on Saturday refused to confirm or deny that information from a police official, and the investigation into the disappearance of 18-year-old Natalee Holloway (search) seemed to revert to square one.
The reported confession fueled rumors of the young woman's demise, and family members later rebutted them by saying Holloway's body had not been found.
Investigators were not talking Sunday. Prosecution spokeswoman Vivian van der Biezen (search) said the day before they were at "a very crucial, very important moment in our investigation."
But she gave no indication of what new information may have emerged in the case, and none of the five people detained in the case has been charged.
Holloway's family rushed late Friday to an old stone lighthouse beside Arisha beach after Deputy Police Commissioner Gerold Dompig told The Associated Press that one of three young men in custody admitted that "something bad happened" to Holloway and was leading police to the scene of the alleged crime.
The three men — the son of a Dutch justice ministry official and two Surinamese brothers — said they took Holloway to the lighthouse in the early hours of May 30, after a night of dancing and drinking. She has not been seen since.
"I knew she wasn't there," said Holloway's step-uncle, Tom "Jar" Twitty.
Holloway vanished hours before she was expected at the airport to end a five-day trip to the Dutch Caribbean island with 124 classmates and seven chaperones celebrating graduation from Mountain Brook, Ala., High School. Her U.S. passport and packed bags were found in her hotel room.
According to the men's police statement, they did not get out of the car, defense lawyer David Kock said. Instead, Holloway and the Dutch teen, an honors student at the Aruba International School whom she met at the casino in her hotel, "were in the back seat kissing."
They also told police they dropped Holloway at her Holiday Inn at about 2 a.m. and last saw her being approached by a man in a security guard uniform before they drove off, Kock said.
The brothers told police the young woman was drunk and refused to get out of the car, said Noraina Pietersz, a lawyer representing Antonius "Mickey" John, 30, one of two former security guards at another hotel who also were detained in the case. John and Abraham Jones, 28, have been detained since Sunday and have denied any connection to Holloway.
Antonio Carlo, the lawyer representing the Dutch minor, said he is confident the teen is "100 percent innocent" of wrongdoing.
"My client has not confessed to any crime," he told the AP.