Natalee Holloway: The Top 5 False Leads And Hoaxes In The Investigation

Natalee Holloway [Wikimedia Commons]

Natalee Holloway’s father has just announced that a team he had been working with discovered human remains in Aruba that are being DNA tested to see if they could be his daughter.

Related: Shocking Discovery! Natalee Holloway’s Father Finds Human Remains In Aruba

Holloway said that he kept the lead to himself, because he did not want to give his family false hope. The Holloway family has suffered through several hoaxes and false leads over the years. Below are a few that made headlines:

The Bird Sanctuary

First Joran van der Sloot, the sole person of interest in the case, once hinted he buried Natalee in The Bubali Bird Sanctuary. Local teens reportedly used the sanctuary as a makeout spot.

Joran van der Sloot [Policia Nacional del Peru]

Joran van der Sloot [Policia Nacional del Peru]

Van der Sloot drew a map that he claimed showed exactly where he and the Kalpoe brothers left her body in the early morning hours of May 30, 2005.

Related: What Happened To Robyn Gardner? After Natalee Holloway, Another American Woman Disappears In Aruba

He gave the information to Jaap Amersz, Holland’s most famous reality-television star, who sold the story to a Dutch tabloid. The paper gave the information to authorities.

Dave Holloway later dredged the swamp, but found nothing.

The Jawbone

However a short time later, a jawbone — with an intact molar — washed up on shore near the area where van der Sloot claimed he had dumped Natalee’s body.

But prosecutors in Aruba later announced that neither the jawbone nor another human bone found earlier matched Natalee.

Related: Sand, Sun & Slaughter: 5 Notorious Murders That Happened On Vacation

The Skull



Later an American couple from Philadelphia photographed something that appeared to be a human skull while snorkeling. Aruban police contacted the island’s tour companies and used a dive team to search the island’s snorkeling locations, and police began an underwater search.

After scouring all areas typically used by snorkelers and finding nothing that resembled the image depicted in the photograph, police said that the lead was another dead end — and that the “skull” was probably coral.

The Extortion

Weeks before murdering Stephany Flores in Peru, Van der Sloot extorted $250,000 from Natalee’s mother, Beth Twitty, through her lawyer John Kelly, in exchange for information about where he allegedly buried Natalee.

Holloway wired van der Sloot $25,000 as a down payment, after which van der Sloot claimed that Natalee hit her head on a rock and died after he threw her to the ground during a confrontation.

Related: Joran van der Sloot Having A Prison Wedding

Van der Sloot led Kelly to a house where he said his father, Paulus van der Sloot, disposed of Natalee’s body. But his claim was later proven to be fake when it building permits revealed that the residence did not even exist at the time Natalee disappeared.

Van der Sloot reneged on his promise, and took the money and fled to Peru.

Federal charges were brought against van der Sloot in the U.S., which he is due to face once he finishes his sentence in Peru for the murder of Flores.

The Crawl Space

In 2015, Jurriën de Jong claimed that Natalee’s body was buried in a crawl space at a Marriott vacation property in Aruba, and he believes that he saw her in her final moments.

Related: Natalee Holloway: 5 Key Facts About The Teen’s 2005 Disappearance

De Jong says he was near Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club, then under construction, on the night of May 30, 2005, when he saw a young man chase a young woman through the construction site — and then carry her limp body. At first, he thought the two were being playful, but he says a short time later the man reappeared, carrying her in his arms.

De Jong said that he was involved in illegal activities at the time, so did not contact police.

Aruba’s chief prosecutor said that he spent weeks investigating de Jong’s claims, but revealed that Marriott officials said there was no construction at the spot de Jong pointed out — and said the story could not be true. He called the tip a “closed book.”

To learn more about this case, watch the “Natalee Holloway: Lost in Paradise” episode of Investigation Discovery’s Vanity Fair Confidential on ID GO now!

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ABC News 


Main photo: Natalee Holloway [Wikimedia Commons]