ORANJESTAD, Aruba – Authorities on Wednesday searched the home of Joran Van Der Sloot (search), the 17-year-old son of a Dutch official who was one of the last known people to see Natalee Holloway (search), a missing Alabama teen, alive.
Meanwhile, FOX News has learned that authorities may have intentionally let Van Der Sloot and two other men go after initial police questioning so they could be placed under surveillance. Sources told FOX News that Aruban authorities tapped the cell phones of Van Der Sloot and his two friends, Surinamese brothers Satish Kalpoe, 18, and Deepak Kalpoe, 21.
The trio, who told police they met Holloway at a night club and drove her to a lighthouse, were questioned by police shortly after the teen disappeared May 30. They claimed to have dropped Holloway off at her hotel, where they last saw her being approached by a black man. That testimony led to the arrest of two former security guards, who were released from custody late Monday.
The three young men have been in police custody since last Thursday. They have since changed their accounts of what happened at the lighthouse and afterward.
Two police officers walked through the Van Der Sloot family's one-story, yellow-beige home, while others guarded the entranceway. A blue sport utility vehicle and a red Jeep were also towed from the property
Officers on the scene would not comment, and police spokesman Edwin Comemencia said he had no information.
At about 3:30 p.m. EDT, half a dozen investigators left the scene. A short time later, several other investigators, carried out several paper bags and loaded them into the back of a small white hatchback and drove off.
About 15 minutes later, a police minivan arrived, along with six or seven new investigators and a police dog. This new team spoke with a prosecutor outside the home, then went in.
Van Der Sloot is an honors student at Aruba International School and the son of a wealthy judge on the Dutch Caribbean island. He and two older friends have admitted leaving a club with Holloway on the night she vanished, but their accounts of what happened later differ.
Van Der Sloot engaged in romantic activity with the 18-year-old after a night of drinking and dancing, according to his friends, who are also in police custody. A lawyer for the boy denies he had anything to do with Holloway's disappearance.
Van Der Sloot's father planned to file a motion allowing him to see his son. Aruban authorities had denied visitation because of the father's status.
"When you're a minor you have a right to visitation from your parents. But because of legal concerns, because the father is part of the legal system, that right was not granted in the first instance," said Aruba government spokesman Rueben Trappenberg. Another judge will decide if the boy's father can visit him after the motion is filed.
Hope of finding Holloway alive was dwindling as Aruban police once again came up empty-handed after searching a swampy beachfront near the location where a female's underwear, used condoms and condom wrappers were found.
FBI (search) agents and officers from the Miami-Dade police department brought two bloodhounds to help search an area of tropical vegetation next to the Marriott Hotel on Tuesday as firefighters pumped water from the site. At nightfall, more than two weeks after the Alabama teen disappeared, they gave up the search of that area.
"We didn't find anything," police spokesman Comemencia told The Associated Press. He declined to say where investigators might look next.
Frustration Mounts for Holloway's Family
Meanwhile, Holloway's family expressed frustration at yet another fruitless search.
"Here we go again. It turns out nothing. This is getting extremely difficult. We just want answers, we just want Natalee to come home," said Marcia Twitty, the girl's aunt.
"You so wonder why they can't find answers. The island is not that big. You have some people who might have answers. You sometimes wonder why we're not getting anywhere. It does get frustrating," she said.
Trappenberg said it was "difficult to say" how the pressure on the island paradise to solve what many now fear is a crime has affected the investigation.
Holloway's mother has been vocal about her belief that Van Der Sloot and his two friends, who are also in custody, know what happened to her daughter.
Beth Holloway Twitty has been on the island since shortly after her daughter was reported missing.
When asked if the slow pace of developments was leading her to lose hope, Paul Reynolds, Natalee's uncle, said of his sister: "That's not something she is considering at this point. She is determined to find her daughter."
Marcia Twitty acknowledged that the odds her niece would be found alive and well grew slimmer with each passing day.
"Every day it just gets tougher and tougher and tougher. You can imagine, where she [Holloway Twitty] is right now. She breaks a lot. She has really bad days," she said.
'It's Changed Everything'
Charles Rafini, the Aruban teen who says he found the underwear and condoms in the brush, as well as duct tape and a string cut from a bikini or halter top, at a location commonly known to locals as a make-out spot, described the underwear he found as pink with flowers on them. He told FOX News on Wednesday that the location of the findings "is not too far" from the Marriott hotel.
When Rafini hand-carried the articles to police, he said, "they told me, 'nice job' ... and they will go figure out what's going on."
When asked how the island nation — heavily dependent on the tourism industry for its livelihood — is different since Holloway's disappearance, which has gained international attention, Rafini said: "It's changed everything. Aruba is doing worse."
But FOX News has learned that the intense search in the area was also prompted by information from one of the three suspects. Tuesday's search was the second for that area.
An FBI spokeswoman also confirmed that Aruban officials have not requested more evidence processing at the bureau's lab in Quantico, Va. However, FBI agents are being included in police briefings, and one agent is being allowed to observe interviews with the suspects through a live video feed or through glass.
Arubans have displayed an eagerness to dispel the shadow cast over their home and help out with the investigation. Reporters from Aruban radio station Top 95 launched their own search before police arrived at the Marriott, and said they found a pair of torn pink-and-white polka dot panties and three condoms, two of them used.
One of the journalists, Albert Vrolijk, said they also found some duct tape wrapped around a tree. The reporters handed their findings over to police, who refused to comment.
Tourism Authority Managing Director Myrna Jansen-Feliciano said "the whole beach area is a place where couples go."
"It could be anybody's" panties and condoms, she said.
No Charges Yet in Case
The latest search came after a former hotel security guard who was released from custody Monday told reporters that he spoke with one of the three youths being held in connection with Holloway's disappearance while he was detained in an adjacent jail cell.
Antonius "Mickey" John said Deepak Kalpoe told him that he, his younger brother and Van Der Sloot lied about returning the 18-year-old teenager to the Holiday Inn on the morning of May 30, the day Holloway disappeared on this Dutch Caribbean island.
Instead, Kalpoe said, they dropped Van Der Sloot and Holloway off near the Marriott, about 10 blocks north of the Holiday Inn, John said. The area searched Tuesday, Malmok beach (search), is next to the Marriott's Palm Beach, and is a popular spot for nighttime lovers.
Kalpoe also allegedly told John that about an hour after dropping the couple off he received a cell phone text message from Van Der Sloot, saying he would e-mail Kalpoe as soon as he got home. Kalpoe said Van Der Sloot never sent the promised message, John said.
Holloway vanished hours before she was expected at the airport to return home after a vacation with 124 classmates and seven chaperones celebrating their high school graduation in Mountain Brook, Alabama. Her U.S. passport and packed bags were found in her room.
The two Surinamese brothers had told police that Van Der Sloot and Holloway were kissing in the back seat of a car, and that when they dropped her off about 2 a.m., they saw a black security guard in a black security jacket approaching her.
John swore he was never in the area at that time of the night and said that Kalpoe apologized to him in jail. "He told me, 'Sorry,' and told the police I should be free."
Attorney General Caren Janssen declined comment on John's statements.
No one has been charged in the case, and lawyers for the three youths still in custody and the two freed men all say their clients are innocent. Lawyers for the three young men did not return messages seeking comment Tuesday.
A couple of Holloway's family members arrived on the scene Tuesday afternoon as police cordoned off several streets in front of the Marriott and investigators descended upon the swampy terrain next door.
Asked why police searched the area, Comemencia replied, "We got some information we needed to check." He would not say if authorities were acting on what John said. He also declined to comment on whether any of the three young men still in custody had changed their versions of what happened the night the teen disappeared.
There is a small pond, perhaps four to six feet deep, in the underbrush that was being searched. A large fire truck pumper truck was parked on the road. Earlier, what appeared to be a generator was dropped off by a flatbed truck. Reporters said they saw the pond being slowly drained.
The release from jail of John and another former hotel security guard, Abraham Jones, 28, came after Holloway's mother told The Associated Press on Sunday that she believed they were innocent but that the three other youths knew what happened to her daughter.
FOX News' Jonathan Serrie, Rick Leventhal, Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report.