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Natalee Holloway's Classmate Remembers The Aruba Trip: "We Thought It Was A Joke"
"Is she okay? Is she hurting? Is she still alive?" asks Jessica Caiola in an exclusive interview with Oxygen.com.
The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway premieres Saturday, August 19 at 7/6c and 9/8c.
Natalee Holloway vanished on May 30, 2005, while on a high school graduation trip to Aruba. The 18-year-old honor student and dancer had finished high school just days before the trip.
Jessica Caiola, who had just graduated with Natalee in 2005 and was friends with her, was also on the same class trip to Aruba. Jessica sat down with Oxygen.com to talk about her experience in Aruba when Natalee went missing.
In Part 1 (below), Jessica describes Natalee as a kind and smart person. She also recalls seeing Joran van der Sloot, who police investigated but never charged in connection with Natalee's disappearance, at the casino when she was attending.
In Part 2 (below), Jessica goes on to say that she believes Joran van der Sloot is indeed the person who killed Natalee Holloway and that she may have still been alive early on in the investigation.
Jessica also provided two photos from the night Natalee went missing, wearing the same clothing in which she was last seen. Below are two photos with captions directly from Jessica herself.
Jessica: "This is a picture in which Natalee is standing on the left side of the picture and she’s talking to a boy. I’m not able to identify who the boy is because his back is turned. So you just see Natalee talking to a boy on a stage. We are in Aruba at Carlos and Charlie’s and it is our last night. Natalee is wearing the same outfit that she went missing in. On the stage with her is a bunch of our other classmates. I was able to identify almost all of them and I blurred their faces for anonymity, I don’t want to upset anyone. And I don’t know why I took this picture. I think I took it cause everyone was on the stage and it was hilarious and awesome and everyone was having an amazing time. There’s one of my friends wearing a sombrero, we were having an amazing time and I just remember being like I want to remember this moment, I want to capture this and I want to remember us all together in Aruba before we all go our separate ways. But like I said what I find so interesting about these pictures is never in my life before this moment had I taken a picture of Natalee, she was never in my pictures. So I definitely think that that night there was something - that I wanted to be around her."
Jessica: "The second picture was taken before we got to the club, Carlos and Charlie’s, we are still at our hotel, it is the night Natalee went missing. She’s still wearing her same blue jean skirt and that green teal shirt. We had just finished taking pictures on the beach with all of our friends and she is sitting right across from me and we’re talking and she’s sitting on one of our other mutual, good friends. She’s sitting on her lap and it’s a beautiful moment of friendship and it just it reminded me that she was my friend, she wasn’t my best friend, she was my friend. We were talking and we were eating dinner - about to eat dinner."
Oxygen's podcast Martinis & Murder recapped and discussed the Natalee Holloway case recently which included clips from Jessica's interview. Next week on the podcast, John and Daryn will sit down with Dave Holloway, Natalee's father, to discuss the latest news regarding the uncovered human remains.
Dave Holloway is investigating a new lead in The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway, Saturdays at 7/6c.
[Photos courtesy of Jessica Caiola]