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Crime News The Disappearance Of Natalee Holloway

Human Bone Fragments Found In Aruba Do Not Belong To Natalee Holloway

The Holloways have been looking for closure ever since Natalee disappeared 17 years ago in Aruba.

By Matt Muro

Bone fragments that have been tested for a possible match to Natalee Holloway have come back negative. Dr. Jason Kolowski, the forensic scientist who has been coordinating the testing and interpreting the results on “The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway,” tells Oxygen.com: "Out of the four individual bone samples only one was found to be human. The mitochodrial DNA bone sample was not a match to [mother] Beth Holloway, and so it was ruled out as being Natalee Holloway." 

Dr. Kolowski also said they don't know the identity of the person whose DNA was tested. "We don't know if the person is male or female," says Dr. Kolowski. "We don't know how old that person is. We don't know how long that person has been dead." Oxygen.com reported earlier that at least one of the bone fragments discovered in Aruba belongs to a human of Caucasian, European descent. 

Father Dave Holloway and his ex-wife Beth have been searching for answers about what happened to their daughter since she disappeared during a class trip to Aruba in 2005. With no body or remains and no conviction in the case, the Holloways have never experienced closure.

Natalee Holloway, who was 18 years old when she went missing, had been awarded a full scholarship to study pre-med at the University of Alabama. She was last seen with Joran van der Sloot, an Aruban native whose father had been a politically connected judge before his death in 2010. Joran, who was 17 years old at the time, has been a primary suspect in connection with Natalee’s disappearance, but he’s never been charged due to a lack of evidence.

Joran was convicted in the brutal 2010 murder of Stephany Flores in Peru, where he is now serving a 28-year-sentence. Chillingly, he killed Stephany five years to the day of Natalee’s disappearance.

The negative results of the test must be hard to swallow for the Holloway family as the latest lead seemed highly promising. An 18-month investigation led by private investigator TJ Ward resulted in Joran Van der Sloot’s friend, John Ludwick, stating that he was paid $1,500 to help dig up Natalee’s remains in 2010 and have them cremated along with dog bones as some Aruban cemeteries at the time would allow residents to cremate their pets. Ludwick also said that he and Joran burned Natalee’s skull in a cave. “The idea was to crush everything to the point where it wasn’t recognizable as her bones or skull or anything like that,” said Ludwick in a recorded conversation.

Disappearance of Natalee Holloway Sneak Peek 105: Where Did You Take the Remains?

This is not the first time Dave Holloway and his ex-wife Beth have felt disappointment after what seemed like a solid lead.

In 2007, according to NBC News, the Holloways hired a Texas man named Tim Miller to investigate the case. After Tim had been searching landfills, a deputy police chief told him that he should be searching three to five miles out in the sea. Tim later learned that a metal and wire fish trap had been stolen from a fisherman’s hut on the beach the night Natalee disappeared. After studying water currents along the Aruban coast, Tim deployed a research vessel to scan the bottom of the ocean to look for traps that might contain Natalee’s body. The vessel captured sonar images showing a large trap right in the area where Tim had guessed, and Tim saw what he believed to be a human skull. He called Dave Holloway on Christmas Eve, saying, “we found her.” But the next day divers discovered that there was no human remains in the trap.

The following year, in 2008, Joran Van der Sloot gave a bizarre interview to Fox News, in which he claimed that he had sold Natalee into sex slavery. Joran provided Fox with a recorded telephone conversation that he claimed he had with his father.  On the recording, a voice can be heard telling Joran that he “cannot talk with anyone about this” after saying “human trafficking is a serious crime.” Joran later recanted his statements and his attorney said he made the story up to sell it to the news media. Joran’s father also denied that it was his voice on the tape, and the voice was never verified by authorities.  

In 2010, Joran contacted an attorney working for Natalee’s mom. According to NBC News, he said he knew where Natalee’s body was located and that he would bring the attorney to her remains and also provide specific details concerning the manner of her death for $25,000. The attorney secretly contacted the FBI and went to Aruba to meet Joran. He gave Joran $10,000 in cash and wired another $15,000. Joran took him to a location, but there were no remains to be found.

Unbeknown to Joran, the FBI was also present and covertly recorded the deal. Joran later emailed someone that he’d given the Holloway’s “worthless” information and a Dutch newspaper quoted him as saying: "I wanted to get back at Natalee's family — her parents have been making my life tough for five years." A federal grand jury in Alabama later indicted Joran on charges of wire fraud and extortion for the incident. On “The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway,” Dave explained that Joran may be extradited to the U.S. for this offense after he serves his term in Peru.

In 2015, a Dutch citizen named Jurrien de Jong told CNN that Natalee’s body was most likely buried in a crawl space at a Marriott resort in Aruba. Jurrien said he watched a young man he believed to be Joran Van der Sloot chase a young woman into a construction site at the resort on May 30, 2005, the night Natalee disappeared. He then claims to have seen Joran carrying the woman’s limp body in his arms, saying: “He pulled [the woman] by the ankles inside the crawl space, stayed inside for a minute and then came out and closed the gap.” According to CNN, Jurrien said he did not inform authorities at the time because he was involved in “illegal activities.”

A prosecutor claims Jurrien’s story is impossible because “no construction or building activities” had been started at the location in question. Beth Holloway agreed, telling TODAY: "Actually, there is no truth to that story. Every time there's an anniversary, whether it's the five-year mark, and now it's the 10-year mark, there's always, I hate to say it, just like some crazies that just come out and they have so placed themselves in Natalee's story. It's empty. There is nothing to that story.”