Case #22 - Natalee Holloway
Along with over a hundred high school graduates, multiple chaperones presided over an unofficial senior trip to the island of Aruba, however for the return plane ride home, cheerleader Natalee Holloway failed to check in with supervisors. Like most celebratory events, there had been nonstop alcohol consumption from all of the underage students, but she was known as an intense partygoer with a severe drinking problem. The last reported sighting was of her leaving a bar with three men, abandoning a packed suitcase waiting at the hotel and a lifetime of achievements; she had recently been accepted to the University of Alabama with a full scholarship.
Joran van der Sloot was identified via video camera accompanied by a pair of brothers, Satish and Deepak Kelpoe. According to the original story, the boys had dropped off Holloway at the hotel, where she reportedly exited in an intoxicated state, falling over multiple times. No records appear of her entering the building, and an immediate rescue search took place across the country, false leads coming forward in great abundance as blood samples were misidentified and persons of interest plentiful.
Guards incriminated by the initial suspects were detained before Van der Sloot and the Kelpoes ended up behind bars for an alleged murder. Pressure to find out the truth from the family ended up prematurely closing a surveillance taping of their houses, phones, and other devices. The account then changed again, this time claiming Holloway was abandoned on a nearby beach when she requested to see the sharks, new details of sexual escapades between the group revealed. No convictions seemed to stick, although police were determined everyone was involved.
All accused were later freed, new arrests being made each year until Van der Sloot admitted wild accusations in interviews such as that she was sold into sexual slavery, even offering the location of the body, which turned out to be a false claim. On the fifth anniversary of her disappearance, he killed a woman who attempted to access information on Joran’s personal computer about the case. Natalee Holloway was declared legally dead the following year in light of the recent homicide.