ORANJESTAD, Aruba – Almost three weeks after joining the search for a missing Alabama teenager, a Texas volunteer group may leave Aruba (search) this week because of a lack of leads, the team's search director said.
Six divers and nine land searchers have scoured Aruba's entire northern coast and parts of the southern and western shores but have found no trace of 18-year-old Natalee Holloway (search), Joe Houston, of the Dickinson, Texas-based volunteer group Texas EquuSearch (search), said on Monday.
"We have searched a significant part of the areas we picked out. The areas that are left are not a high priority," Houston said, describing the unsearched areas as remote places where it would be hard to hide a body.
He said the team's nearly three-week search has turned up a sandal, miscellaneous clothing and some jewelry, but nothing "pertinent to this case."
The team will decide on Tuesday whether to give up the search, Houston said, adding that three divers from Florida State University's underwater crime scene investigation department are planning to leave on Wednesday.
"We've pushed our departure back twice since we began the search. If we find any new leads worth pursuing, we'll postpone it again," Houston said.
Holloway vanished in the early hours of May 30, just before she was to catch a flight home after a five-day vacation celebrating her high school graduation with 124 classmates.
Joran van der Sloot, a 17-year-old who was with Holloway the last night she was seen in public, has been detained in connection with her disappearance.
Two of van der Sloot's friends, Surinamese nationals Deepak Kalpoe, 21, and Satish Kalpoe, 18, were also arrested but ordered released on July 4.
On Tuesday, three appellate judges will hear arguments by a government prosecutor seeking to overturn the Kalpoe brothers' release, government spokesman Ruben Trapenberg said.
Trapenberg said prosecutors "will present new evidence" in the case but declined to give details.
"From our point of view, tomorrow is not a big day. It is one more step in the usual process of handling justice on the island," he said.
The judges will also hear arguments by van der Sloot's lawyer that there is insufficient evidence to continue holding him, Trapenberg said.