Nearly a decade after Alabama teen Natalee Holloway vanished on a high school trip to Aruba, her father is back on the Caribbean island with a private detective, probing new clues and focusing on a new claim from a purported eyewitness.
Holloway was just 18 when she disappeared on May 30, 2005. The prime suspect long has been Joran van der Sloot, who is in imprisoned in Peru for a 2010 murder. Dave Holloway is convinced Van der Sloot killed his daughter, but his latest quest is to find her body –- and investigate the new eyewitness claim.
“I saw Natalee Holloway on the last night she was alive,” island resident Jurrien de Jong told the syndicated TV program Inside Edition. “I was the eyewitness.
“I saw that Joran was chasing Natalee into a small building under construction,” De Jong continued. “In about five minutes he came out with Natalee in his arms, and slammed the body of Natalee on the floor, and then he made an opening in a crawl space… I knew she was dead.”
“I saw Natalee Holloway on the last night she was alive.”
- Jurrien de Jong
Natalee Holloway was last seen leaving a bar with van der Sloot. De Jong said he originally kept his secret because he was himself involved in unspecified illegal activities. But he told Inside Edition he was moved to speak out after seeing a report in which van der Sloot told an undercover investigator Natalee Holloway was buried at sea, which he believes is a lie.
Now, with an investigator and a cadaver dog in tow, Dave Holloway is out to determine if there is any truth to the latest claim. In the past, the search for justice for his daughter has taken several cruel twists. Several supposed leads have led nowhere, including conflicting statements from van der Sloot, who was arrested twice but never charged.
Van der Sloot has claimed to have left a drunken Holloway alone on a beach; he was caught on hidden camera confessing to the killing, and he once told Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren that he sold her into slavery. He was also charged with trying to extort $250,000 from Natalee Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway, by claiming he could lead her to the remains of her daughter.
De Jong told the distraught father what he knew last year, and also made the claims to a Dutch newspaper, Algemeen Dagblad.
Eric Olthof, Aruba's prosecutor, told Inside Edition hisoffice is investigating the claims and expected his investigation could take as long as two months.
Van der Sloot, who was 17 when Holloway disappeared, is serving a 28-year sentence in Peru for the 2010 murder of Stephany Flores in a Lima hotel room. Upon completion of his sentence, he faces extradition to the U.S., where he will face charges of extorting and defrauding Beth Holloway.
Dave and Beth Holloway had divorced several years before their daughter disappeared.