THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS – Dutch student Joran van der Sloot denied that he had anything to do with the disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba, saying he lied when he told someone privately he was involved in her disappearance.
Holloway's mother said in an interview published Saturday that hidden camera footage of Van der Sloot allegedly acknowledging involvement has finally convinced her that Natalee is dead.
Van der Sloot's statement Friday came hours after Aruban prosecutors announced they were reopening their investigation into Holloway's disappearance after seeing secretly taped material from a Dutch journalist.
Van der Sloot was interviewed by the respected Dutch television show "Pauw & Witteman" following reports that crime reporter Peter R. De Vries had captured him making statements about the case.
"It is true I told someone. Everybody will see it Sunday," Van der Sloot said, referring to De Vries' planned television show in which he will claim to have solved the mystery of Holloway's May 2005 disappearance with the help of an undercover investigation.
Van der Sloot spoke to the late night current affairs show by telephone. His voice was recognizable from an earlier appearance on the show, which has closely followed the Holloway case.
"That is what he wanted to hear, so I told him what he wanted to hear," Van der Sloot said, adding that he had built up a relationship with the man he spoke to, but had never fully trusted him. He did not identify the man.
"It is so stupid, it is so stupid, it is really stupid," Van der Sloot said, his voice cracking.
Aruban prosecutors said earlier Friday that they are reopening their investigation into Holloway's disappearance after seeing De Vries' material.
"The recordings made available to the Public Prosecutor have given the Public Prosecutor a reason to reopen the investigation," the public prosecutor's office said in a statement.
In an interview published Saturday in best-selling Dutch daily De Telegraaf, Holloway's mother Beth Twitty said her last hopes that her daughter could still be alive evaporated when she saw De Vries' hidden camera footage.
"I can let her go now and begin mourning," Twitty said. "The one percent of hope I had that she was still alive is gone."
Twitty, who is in the Netherlands at De Vries' invitation, was not available to speak Saturday, said Peter Schouten, a spokesman for the crime reporter's show.
Aruba prosecutors made no reference to the possibility of an arrest, and Van der Sloot said he does not expect to be arrested again.
"It's easy to prove that what I said is not true, and that actually this is much ado about nothing, and so it's actually a shame that her mother has flown here and everything," he said.
One of Van der Sloot's attorneys, Joseph Tacopina of New York, said his client shouldn't have discussed the case.
"He should have hung up the phone, but he didn't. Clearly it's not something his parents are happy about," Tacopina told The Associated Press.
"The evidence refutes what Joran supposedly said," said Tacopina, who said he heard of the interview through media reports. "It doesn't change the truth of this case. And the truth is, Joran had nothing to do with Natalee's death."
De Vries has not made clear what the "confession" consists of. Dutch newspapers published a partial transcript of his talks with Aruba prosecutor Hans Mos, and Mos' office said Friday that "what appeared on the Internet seems to be a reproduction of a part of the conversation."
In the transcript, De Vries refers to a "confession" he obtained from Van der Sloot, but doesn't say what he allegedly admitted to.
In part of the transcript, Mos says: "Clearly, it's the first time that he's confessed to somebody. This is his coming out."
Holloway, 18, of Mountain Brook, Alabama, was last seen in public leaving a bar with Van der Sloot and two Surinamese brothers — Deepak and Satish Kalpoe — hours before she was due to board a flight home from a school trip to Aruba. No trace of her has ever been found.
The three were re-arrested in November, but released within weeks for lack of evidence. Prosecutors then dismissed their case against them, saying they lacked evidence even to prove a crime had been committed.
Van der Sloot, who lived in Aruba at the time of Holloway's disappearance, has always denied any role in her disappearance, as have the Kalpoe brothers.
On Thursday, Aruban prosecutors said the new material might help them determine how Holloway died and what happened to her body.
De Vries told Dutch television that he used a hidden camera in Aruba and the Netherlands to obtain images "that have proved to be very important" and that he would reveal what happened to Holloway on Sunday.
Two weeks ago, after an appearance on "Pauw & Witteman" with De Vries, Van der Sloot threw wine in the journalist's face after he challenged his credibility.