ORANJESTAD, Aruba – The mother of a missing Alabama teenager apologized Friday for any offense her remarks about the justice system here may have caused to Arubans.
Beth Holloway Twitty (search) said she had been extremely distraught with the scarcity of clues to her daughter's fate when she contended Tuesday that two brothers who have been tied to the case were guilty and should not have been freed from jail.
Her remarks were widely criticized as an unfair attack on the Dutch judicial system that governs this Caribbean protectorate of the Netherlands.
"I would like to apologize to the Aruban people and to the Aruban authorities if I or my family have offended you in anyway," Holloway Twitty told a news conference at her Aruban attorney's office.
"It was never my intention to do so," she said, adding that the Aruban people have been "extremely kind and generous."
She said she realizes the legal system here "abides by the presumption of innocence, and I want to assure everyone that I do respect the Aruban legal system."
Holloway Twitty seemed much more composed than she did Tuesday when she was fighting back tears as she accused the brothers of complicity in her 18-year-old daughter's disappearance and urged other countries not to give them refuge.
The brothers are from the South American country of Suriname (search).
Natalee Holloway (search), of Mountain Brook, Alabama, vanished in the early hours of May 30, hours before she was to catch a flight home after a five-day vacation celebrating her high school graduation with 124 classmates.
Numerous searches by Dutch marines, Aruban investigators and volunteer rescue groups have failed to turn up any trace of Holloway.
Holloway Twitty's attorney, Benvinda de Sousa, said the apology was not inspired by threats from the attorneys of the two brothers to sue if she kept insisting their clients were guilty.
De Sousa said the mother will wait on the island in hopes that answer to her daughter's fate will be found.
Tim Miller, director of Texas EquuSearch (search), a Dickenson, Texas-based volunteer group that has been here for more than two weeks doing ocean and land searches, said forensic diving specialists and two Navy SEAL divers who were volunteering vacation time were to arrive later Friday, bringing specialized search equipment.
But Miller said EquuSearch was planning to leave on Tuesday if nothing new was found. He acknowledged prospects for success were slim and said he was convinced the girl was not on the island.
"We are not any closer than we were 16 days ago when we got here," Miller said.
It will also hear an appeal of a judge's order to hold Joran van der Sloot (search), the 17-year-old son of a judge-in-training for another 60 days. The hearings will not be public.
De Sousa said the judges could rule that day or the next.
None of the three men has been charged and all proclaim their innocence.
The three have acknowledged that they were with Holloway the night she disappeared. The two brothers have said they dropped van der Sloot and Holloway off together at a beach near the Marriott hotel, then went home.
Van der Sloot's mother, Anita, said her son told her he was alone with Holloway on a beach but he did not harm her.
Under Dutch law, detainees can be held 116 days before being charged by a judge.