Aruba asks Dutch to take lead in Holloway case
25 August 2006
AMSTERDAM — Aruba has asked the Netherlands to take over the leadership of the stalled investigation into the disappearance of US school graduate Natalee Holloway.
Dutch minister Atzo Nicolaï has indicated a willingness to help the investigation. “But we still have to look at the precise agreements under which we would work,” he said on Thursday.
Nicolaï (Government Reform and Kingdom Relations) made his comments at the end of his official visit to the autonomous Dutch island in the Caribbean. The request for assistance was made by Aruban Justice Minister Rudy Croes.
Aruba has been battered by negative publicity in the US for over a year since Holloway, 18, vanished on the night of 30 May 2005. She was on holiday with friends to celebrate their graduation and was last seen leaving a local tourist venue with three youths.
Police on Aruba arrested a total of 10 people so far in the investigation but all have been released. Dutch teenager Joran van der Sloot, one of the youths with Holloway on the night she disappeared, was the main suspect for many months. He continues to deny harming her in any way.
Holloway’s family doesn’t believe him. Her mother Beth Twitty has led a chorus of criticism from the US of the way the local authorities have handled the case. There have even been calls for Americans to boycott the popular tourist destination.
Repeated searches of the island have failed to find any trace of her, though investigators said early on they believed she is dead. At one stage dutch F-16 jets, fitted with special cameras, were used in a futile attempt to find her remains.
Aruba’s new request goes much further as it proposes giving Dutch officers investigative powers and their own office. They would also be allowed to carry weapons. Croes wants the Dutch national police service KLPD to lead the investigation.
Dutch Interior Minister Johan Remkes, who is responsible for the police, will discuss the matter further when he visits Aruba next week.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news