I’m a sucker for a good true crime story. Back in the 90s I was one of the people watching the O.J. Simpson trial on television every day after work. [Spoiler: O.J. is guilty.] Now there is word circulating of a break in another major crime story which dominated television a dozen years ago, the disappearance of Natalee Holloway.
One reason this is getting attention this week is that there is a new TV special about the case which premieres Saturday. So there is definitely some marketing involved here. Nevertheless, there is at least some reason to think an investigation by Holloway’s father has uncovered something new and potentially significant. From USA Today:
Dave Holloway and investigator T.J. Ward told Today that during the course of an 18-month investigation they were led to remains which are being DNA tested to determine if they belong to his daughter.
“When we determined these remains were human, I was shocked,” Holloway told Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie on the program Wednesday. “I know there’s a possibility this could be someone else, and I’m just trying to wait and see.”
That’s the big development: Human remains have been discovered at a site pointed to by a tipster, though it will take several more weeks for a lab in the U.S. to determine if those remains are a genetic match for Natalee Holloway.
When Holloway disappeared in 2005, the lead suspect was Joran van der Sloot. He admitted to being with Holloway on the night she disappeared but was never charged, in part because her body was never found. Five years later, van der Sloot murdered another woman in Peru. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison and is currently serving time for that murder.
The latest development in the case came about as a result of a tip. A man named Gabriel claims he became friends with a former friend of Joran van der Sloot. This former friend told Gabriel that van der Sloot confessed to him exactly what happened to Natalee Holloway and paid him to help move the body. When Gabriel, who is a father himself, heard the story he reached out to Dave Holloway. That was in 2015. Holloway and his private investigator and friend have followed up on the lead and discovered human remains. Again, we don’t know if the remains belong to Natalee Holloway yet, but someone’s remains have been discovered.
I’ll admit the whole story seems too good to be true but I’m really hoping this is not just a cash grab by a network taking advantage of a still-grieving father. Every once in a while a cold case like this does get solved. Hopefully this will be one of those. Here is Dave Holloway’s interview on the Today show from earlier in the week.