- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 9, 2005

ORANJESTAD, Aruba — Police arrested three young men yesterday who acknowledged giving a ride to an Alabama teenager the night she disappeared on this Dutch Caribbean island, officials said.

One of those detained — a Dutch teenager — met Natalee Holloway at a hotel casino two days before the 18-year-old honors student was last seen, Aruban Police Commander Jahn van der Straaten told reporters.

The three, described by authorities earlier as witnesses and “persons of interest,” had been released last week after being questioned.

They told police that they dropped off Miss Holloway of Mountain Brook, Ala., at her hotel in the early hours of May 30, but Holiday Inn employees say security cameras did not record her return.

Police also impounded a gray Honda. Miss Holloway’s friends reported last seeing her as she left a nightclub in a silver car.

“The three people have been arrested as suspects,” chief government spokesman Ruben Trapenberg said. He did not elaborate.

Attorney General Caren Janssen said the three were arrested at 6 a.m. She refused to name them, but authorities previously described the three as students — two Surinamese brothers and the son of a Dutch justice official studying to be a judge.

The Dutch detainee, a student at the Aruba International School, left his home in a middle-class neighborhood of Oranjestad yesterday with his head covered in a blue-and-green striped towel.

Police identified the Surinamese brothers only as Satish and Deepak K.

Vivian van der Biezan, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, said the Dutch detainee was 17 and that the Surinamese brothers were 18 and 21.

Ms. Janssen refused to say whether the three were connected to two former hotel security guards detained earlier in Miss Holloway’s disappearance. A judge ruled Wednesday that there was sufficient cause to hold the two former guards.

The judge’s decision means that authorities could detain Nick John, 30, and Abraham Jones, 28, for nearly four months while prosecutors investigate possible charges, defense attorneys said. Neither man has been formally charged.

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