18-year-old Natalee Holloway had everything going for her. Aside from being beautiful and talented, she was a member of the National Honour Society, and was due to start at the University of Alabama on a full scholarship with the hopes of becoming a doctor.
But on the final night of a high school graduation trip to Aruba, Natalee disappeared forever.
On May 26, 2005, 125 graduates from Mountain Brook High School in Alabama arrived in Aruba for a five-day vacation. The trip was described by police as “wild partying, a lot of drinking” and it was noted that Natalee drank “all day, every day.”
Natalee was last seen by her classmates leaving the Carlos’n Charlies night club around 1:30am on May 30 with a 17- year old boy named Joran van der Sloot. Joran was an honours student living in Aruba, and was accompanied by his two Surinamese friends Deepak and Satish Kalpoe that night. Natalee got into the back seat of Deepak’s car with Joran and was never seen again.
Despite the fact that she vanished over 10 years ago, there are still many things we (and officials alike) don’t know about the case. Natalee’s remains were never found, charges have never been laid, and her family still yearns for closure. With all things considered, here’s five shocking things we do know about the disappearance of Natalee Holloway:
1). Joran van der Sloot is currently in prison – for an unrelated murder
Unsurprisingly, both authorities and Natalee’s family believe Joran is to blame for Natalee’s disappearance. He is yet to face trial in connection with her, and has provided different (also conflicting) accounts of what he knows about the case.
In 2012, Joran pleaded guilty to the 2010 murder of a 21-year-old Peruvian woman, Stephany Flores, he met in a Lima casino. He is currently serving 28 years in prison, which highlights him as a prime suspect for Natalee’s case.
Speaking of the more recent case, Beth’s attorney said the murder was unfair to Beth’s closure process: “He’s tortured, tormented and taunted Beth Holloway for six-and-a-half years and toyed with her emotions nonstop about what fate fell to her daughter with absolutely no remorse, and now seeks to use that as a basis to mitigate his prison time for brutally murdering another young woman.
2). Natalee’s mum tried to get into Joran’s house – but was denied access
Natalee’s friends state she was very close with her mum, Beth Holloway, so it’s unsurprising to hear that Beth flew to Aruba shortly after Natalee failed to arrive back home.
After hearing Joran was the last person Natalee was seen with, Beth paid a visit to his home. She stood at the gates pleading to get some face time with Joran, but no one budged. Speaking of the incident to Glamour, Natalee’s friend Claire said it was traumatising for everyone involved:
“We were enraged Beth wasn’t being let in. We were pacing the room and freaking out. Here is a mother in crisis, and if nobody will let her in the house…well, something is really suspicious! We knew in our gut that Joran was behind her disappearance… Nobody would let Beth into the house. It just added up. He’d done something bad to her—we didn’t know what, but we knew it was him.”
3). Beth Holloway paid $250,000USD for information… which turned out to be false
In 2010, Beth’s lawyer was contacted by Joran with an offer to show them the location of Natalee’s bodies, and an explanation of her death – for $25k upfront.
Beth’s lawyer got the FBI involved and wired $15,000 to Joran’s account, but the information he provided was found to be incorrect. Joran used this money to travel to Peru (where he would later murder Stephany Flores).
4). Natalee’s alleged kidnapping made her friends scared to date boys
Claire Fierman and Mallie Tucker, who went to Aruba with Natalee, and would have studied alongside her at university, said it ruined their college experience and developed trust issues for them. Claire said it made it hard for her to even talk to boys: “When I met a guy, I’d be scared s—tless. I’d be, Why are you talking to me?”
The pair eventually started dating people again, but admit they made boys “jump through hoops” to gain their trust.
5). An undercover sting says Natalee’s bones were mixed with a dog’s bones
In 2016, Natalee’s father Dave set up a sting to find out more information about the case. A man named Gabriel states the man who got rid of Natalee’s remains (supposedly for Joran) was paid $200 to mix her bones up with those of a dead dog (to hide their origin) and taken to a crematory.
The same sting also claims that Natalee’s cause of death was choking on the date rape drug GHB provided by Joran – although none of those can be proven.
While there are still so many questions about the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, her family is still determined to bring her justice and discover what really happened on that Aruba trip – and they’re not resting any time soon.
Catch the series ‘The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway’, which follows Dave’s attempts to track down the person guilty for her kidnapping, from Thursday 14th September at 8:30pm.