ORANJESTAD, Aruba – A man who claimed he saw a suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway (search) driving with two friends the night she vanished appeared in court Monday to give sworn testimony, days after police said he may have fled the country.
The witness had been summoned to appear in court last week, but authorities were unable to locate him and said he might have left the Dutch Caribbean island.
Police found the man and brought him to court, police spokesman Edwin Comenencia said, declining to say where or when they located him.
The man, whose name has not been disclosed, told police last month that he saw Joran van der Sloot (search), an 18-year-old Dutch high school student who has been detained in the case, and two Surinamese brothers driving near the Marriott Hotel around 2:30 a.m. on May 30.
The man's account is significant because van der Sloot told authorities that he was already at home at 2:30 a.m. that night. Van der Sloot has admitted he was alone with Holloway that night, but said he left the 18-year-old from Mountain Brook unharmed at a beach near the Marriott Hotel.
Van der Sloot was brought in by police to attend the closed-door session, while the brothers, Satish and Deepak Kalpoe, came in voluntarily.
Under Dutch law, which governs Aruba, a sworn testimony is considered more credible because it allows the judge and lawyers on both sides of a case to question the witness.
"We are very satisfied with the interrogations," of the witness, said Ruud Oomen, a lawyer for Deepak Kalpoe (search), after the session. "The judge gave us the opportunity to ask the questions we wanted."
Oomen declined to comment further.
Chief Prosecutor Karin Janssen and other defense lawyers declined to comment upon leaving court.
The man was escorted out the court's side door in an unmarked police car with heavily tinted windows, making it impossible to see his face.
Last week, lawyers for Satish Kalpoe (search) and the Holloway family said officials in the Attorney General's office told them the witness was a Colombian national living in Aruba illegally and working as a gardener.
Police had said the man was not considered a fugitive, but if found in Aruba, he would be arrested, made to testify in court and turned over to immigration officials.
It was unclear if the man had been arrested or would face legal action.
Based on his account, police partially drained the pond near the Marriott Hotel. They found no evidence.
Holloway disappeared on the last day of a vacation to celebrate her high school graduation. Numerous searches by police and volunteers have found no trace of her.
Also Monday, a judge struck down an appeal by defense lawyers to prohibit Aruban authorities from sharing information with the FBI about Holloway's case, said Attorney General spokeswoman Mariaine Croes.
Lawyers for Joran van der Sloot and the Kalpoes have argued the American law enforcement agency, which is acting in an advisory role, didn't have jurisdiction and shouldn't have access to the investigation.