Natalee Holloway’s parents have relentlessly searched for answers ever since she went missing during a class trip to Aruba following her graduation from an Alabama high school in 2005. After 12 years, some closure may be imminent. According to Natalee's father, Dave Holloway, and the family’s private investigator, T.J. Ward, bone fragments that were discovered in Aruba, as chronicled on Oxygen’s “The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway,” were sent to veteran forensic scientist Dr. Jason Kolowski, a former Forensic Laboratory Director of the D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences who founded Forensic Insight Consulting, LLC, to coordinate DNA testing and help them understand the results.
At least one of the bone fragments discovered is “from a single individual,” Kolowski, who is pictured below, tells Oxygen.com. “They are human, and they are of Caucasian, European descent.” Natalee, who was declared legally dead in 2012, was also Caucasian and of European descent.
The DNA discovered, says Kolowski, is mitochondrial, which takes longer than nuclear DNA to test. He anticipates testing will be fully complete sometime in September. According to Kolowski, the remains consist of multiple bone fragments and he says there’s no way to determine gender with mitochondrial DNA. “We are in the dark as to whether these remains are male or female, genetically,” he says.
Yet Kolowski is confident he’ll have a compelling answer as to whether the remains belong to Natalee Holloway when testing is complete. Mitochondrial DNA, unlike nuclear, which comes from both parents, is only from the mother. To this end, Kolowski says they’ve collected a reference sample from Natalee Holloway’s mother, Beth. “Beth’s would be exactly the same as Natalee’s or any of Beth’s other children,” he explains.
If the bones currently being tested match Beth’s mitochondrial DNA, the Holloways will finally be able to put Natalee to rest.
Natalee Holloway was last seen leaving a bar with Joran van der Sloot, who is a primary suspect in her disappearance. He has never been charged due to a lack of evidence. Van der Sloot is currently serving a 28-year prison sentence in Peru for the brutal murder of Stephany Flores.
Learn more information about the new lead that led Dave Holloway and T.J. Ward to Aruba in search for Natalee’s remains by watching a clip from Episode 1 of “The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway.”
Also watch Natalee's friend and classmate, Jessica Caiola, who was on the Aruba trip, talk about the moment they met Joran van der Sloot and describe being one of the last people to see Natalee alive.
[Photos of the last night Natalee Holloway was seen alive courtesy of Jessica Caiola]
Watch full episodes of "The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway" on Oxygen Saturdays at 7/6c and 9/8c or online now.