- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 12, 2005

ORANJESTAD, Aruba — Three young men who took an Alabama honors student to the beach before she disappeared must stay in jail, a judge ruled yesterday, as Aruba’s attorney general and others denied reports that one had confessed and said he would take police to the body.

As rumors mounted about the fate of 18-year-old Natalee Holloway, a spokeswoman for her family, Carla Caccavale, told the Associated Press: “The family confirms that a body has not been found.”

Miss Holloway vanished hours before she was expected at the airport to end a five-day trip to the Dutch Caribbean island with 124 classmates and seven chaperones celebrating their graduation from Mountain Brook High School, near Birmingham, Ala.

Police found her U.S. passport and packed bags in her hotel room.

No one has been charged in the case, and statements yesterday seemed to leave the investigation where it was several days ago.

Prosecutors refused to comment on a statement Friday night by Deputy Police Commissioner Gerold Dompig, who told AP that one of three young men in police custody had told police Friday night that “something bad happened.” He refused to identify which of the three young men made the statement.

A statement from the office of Attorney General Caren Janssen late yesterday said, “Information given by non-official sources jeopardizes the ongoing investigation and creates expectations and situations that are not based on fact.”

Police refused to say yesterday whether they discovered anything that would lead to Miss Holloway, who was last seen in the early hours of May 30.

Referring to Commissioner Dompig’s statement, prosecution spokeswoman Vivian van der Biezen said yesterday: “We neither confirm nor deny any information coming from other sources … [about] alleged statements of suspects in this case.”

The night Miss Holloway disappeared, she spent part of the evening partying at a restaurant and then in the back seat of a car kissing a 17-year-old Dutch student, according to lawyers quoting from testimony from two Surinamese brothers — friends of the Dutch boy — arrested in the case along with him.

Antonio Carlo, the attorney representing the Dutch minor, said he is confident his client is “100 percent innocent.”

“My client has not confessed to any crime,” he told AP.

Police also have detained two other men — former security guards at a hotel near the one where Miss Holloway was staying.

One of their court-appointed attorneys, Noraina Pietersz, said her client also was innocent.

“Five suspects are being held,” Miss van der Biezen said. “We are at a very crucial, very important moment in our investigation.”

Miss Holloway’s mother, Beth Holloway Twitty, is feeling the strain, her brother-in-law said yesterday. Tom Twitty said: “She has had amazing stamina up until now.”

Miss Holloway’s family believes she is alive, Mr. Twitty said. Rumors that she is dead are “an aggressive interpretation” of what police are saying, he said.

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