THE HAGUE, Netherlands – A Dutch judge on Thursday approved the transfer to Aruba of a student suspected in the 2005 disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway on the Caribbean resort island, a prosecutor said.
Joran van der Sloot, 20, was arrested Wednesday in the central city of Arnhem on suspicion of involvement in voluntary manslaughter and causing serious bodily harm that resulted in Holloway's death.
Two other suspects, Surinamese brothers Satish and Deepak Kalpoe, were arrested in Aruba.
In a closed hearing that lasted just over a half hour, a court in Arnhem confirmed Van der Sloot's identity and said that he had been arrested properly — clearing the way for his transfer to Aruba, prosecutor Dop Kruimel said in a telephone interview.
Kruimel said Van der Sloot will be flown to Aruba within days.
Van der Sloot's Dutch attorney, Leon van den Eeden, criticized the decision to send his client to Aruba after he had worked hard to build a life in the Netherlands.
Holloway, of Mountain Brook, Alabama, was last seen leaving a bar with the three men on May 30, 2005, hours before she was scheduled to board a plane home with high school classmates celebrating their graduation. She was 18 at the time.
Hundreds of volunteers, Aruban soldiers, police and FBI agents searched for the missing teen. Efforts included divers, Dutch F-16 jets equipped with search equipment, and specially trained dogs. No trace of her was ever found.
Holloway's father said Thursday that he and a team of experts will search for his daughter's body in waters off Aruba following the recent re-arrest of three suspects in the case.
Dave Holloway told The Associated Press that he believes his daughter's body was thrown into the ocean in deeper waters than those already searched. He said he based that belief on conversations with a police official and a private forensic expert.
"It's like this: we've searched all the land areas ... It's common knowledge on the island that if someone were to dispose of the body, it would be out in the ocean," he said by telephone.
Van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers had been detained previously in connection with Holloway's death, but they denied involvement and a judge released them for lack of evidence.