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Natalee Holloway

A high school senior vanishes while on her senior trip to Aruba

  • Last updated: October 18, 2023
  • Mountain Brook, AL
  • May 30, 2005

Overview of Natalee Holloway

Joran van der Sloot admitted to killing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway on October 18, 2023.

Natalee Holloway (left), and suspect Joran van der Sloot during his extradition (right).
“I have considered your confession to the brutal murder of Natalee Holloway,” Judge Anna Manasco said after reading van der Sloot’s confession.
"You have brutally murdered in separate incidents years apart two beautiful women who refused your sexual advances,” the judge said, referring to a separate killing in Peru in 2010.

Van der Sloot was required to say how Natalee died and how her body was disposed of, but officials say there won't be any futher investigation or search for Natalee's remains. Details are not released to the public.

Natalee Holloway was born on October 21, 1986, in Memphis, Tennessee, to her parents, David and Beth Holloway. In 1993, her parents divorced, and Natalee and her brother Matthew were raised by their mother, Beth. The family moved to Mountain Brook, Alabama, when Beth married George "Jug" Twitty, who was an accomplished Alabama businessman. Natalee and Beth had a close relationship as mother and daughter.

Natalee was a beautiful person, inside and out. Natalee was a dance squad member and participated in other extracurricular activities. She was known as "Hooty Hoo" because she would speak in a high-pitched, silly voice while on the phone with friends. Natalee's favorite movie was The Wizard of Oz.

Natalee graduated from Mountain Brook High School on May 24, 2005 as a member of the National Honor Society. With her studies, she had secured a full scholarship to the University of Alabama to pursue a pre-med academic track. Friends and family say she couldn’t be more excited for this upcoming chapter in her life.

Senior Class Trip

The last time Beth saw her daughter was when she dropped her off at a friend's house on May 26, 2005, the morning they were leaving for their senior class trip to Aruba. It was an unofficial graduation trip — but it was a senior class tradition. Natalee and her friends were excited to travel because it was their first glimpse of freedom as young adults. They would be staying at the Holiday Inn in Aruba.

For Natalee, this was also a milestone. It would be the first time Natalee traveled without her parents.

The five-day Aruba adventure consisted of 124 fellow students from her high school, along with seven chaperones. While there was no schedule or planned excursions with the whole group, each day, the students had to check in with their chaperones. Other than that, the students were on their own. In Aruba, the legal drinking age was 18, which meant a lot of drinking and partying occurred.

Natalee and friends in Aruba on the trip. This was earlier in the day before she was last seen.

May 30, 2005 — The Final Night of the Trip

Earlier that evening, she met Joran van der Sloot, a 17-year-old Dutch national, at the Holiday Inn Hotel where the students were staying. The two hung out at the hotel lobby before going to the Carlos' n Charlie's Club. Van der Sloot and Natalee spend time together drinking and dancing until the bar closed.

Natalee Halloway can be seen in the far left. This is the last known photo of her, taken the night she disappeared. FBI agents discovered this photo in the camera of one of her classmates.

Holloway was seen at leaving at 1:00 a.m. in a gray Honda with van der Sloot and his two friends, Deepak and Satish Kalope. The exact story of what happens next remains unknown. There have been many retellings and rumors but one detail remains true: the Kalpoe brothers and Joran van der Sloot were the last to see Natalee.

Later that morning, the students were supposed to report to the lobby so they could all return to the airport to go home. Natalee was nowhere to be found. One of the seven chaperones, Jodi Bearman, contacted Beth Holloway to inform her that Natalee had not been seen since the night before. It was unlikely for Natalee to be late, especially when all of the students knew about their return flight.

Beth contacted 911 and the FBI.

Beth quickly began coordinating a plan to get to Aruba to help find her daughter. Her mother couldn't shake the gut feeling that Natalee had likely been kidnapped. By 5 p.m., Beth and her husband, George "Jug" Twitty, as well as Natalee’s biological father, Dave, all boarded a private jet from Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport to Aruba. They landed by 10:00 p.m.

When Natalee's family arrived in Aruba, they wasted no time retracing her last known locations and asking her friends about what they learned. Eventually, Beth found Joran van der Sloot's address and went to his home to question him about what he knew. Van der Sloot admitted leaving Carlos' n Charlie's bar with Natalee and the Kalope brothers.

Joran van der Sloot and his two friends, Deepak and Satish Kalope

They allegedly drove to a lighthouse and then dropped her off at the Holiday Inn. However, he tells her family that a security guard helped her get inside, but they could never find that security guard. Some retellings suggested they dropped Natalee off at the Marriot, which was not the hotel Natalee stayed at with her class. They claimed they dropped her off by 2 a.m. However, a hotel employee showed Beth security footage, which confirmed Natalee never returned to the hotel.

It was later determined that this story was made up.

Natalee's parents wanted to report her missing as soon as they could. However, Aruba followed the Dutch justice system and had to wait 48 hours before filing a report. By June 1, 2005, word about Natalee's disappearance was getting around the island. An estimated 100 locals and tourists aided in the search effort for Natalee.

Experts are pictured examining the north area of the Marriott Hotel where Natalee Holloway was staying the night that she disappeared.

A Series of Arrests

On June 5, the first two arrests were made when Aruban officials arrested Abraham Jones and Mickey John, two security guards. They were held for eight days before being released. Beth Holloway was vocal about their innocence. Per the Dutch legal system, a suspect can be detained on suspicion of a crime but can be formally charged later.

By June 13, 2005, the security guards were both released.

On June 9, 2005, Aruban authorities arrested Joran van der Sloot, Satish Kalope, and Depak Kalope concerning Natalee's disappearance. They were the last known people with Natalee. Joran is ordered to be held without charges for 60 days. Beth Holloway was hopeful that this arrest would lead to a lead in the case, but it would ultimately be the first of multiple arrests for Kalpoe brothers and van der Sloot.

Joran van der Sloot was arrested twice, but released for lack of evidence.

In one re-telling, the Kalope brothers claimed they dropped van der Sloot and Natalee off at a beach near the Holiday Inn. Van der Sloot claims he left her there to walk home. However, their story of what happened that night kept changing.

On June 17, 2005, a disc jockey, Steve Croes, was arrested in connection to the case after his name was dropped by one of the three men who mentioned his name but was later released two days later for lack of evidence. Strangely, on June 23, 2005, Joran's father, Paul van der Sloot, a judge in training, was arrested and identified as a suspect in Natalee's disappearance.

By July 4, 2005, the Kalpoe brothers were released from jail after being detained for three weeks. While van der Sloot, who has not been formally charged yet, is ordered to be held for an additional 60 days. According to the Dutch legal system, a person can be detained for 116 before being formally charged.

A Potential Break in the Case

During a search, a piece of duct tape with a blonde strand is found on a beach in Aruba. An FBI Quantico Crime Lab tests the hair strands, and it is determined that the hair does not belong to Natalee. During this time, Beth announces a $1 million reward. At this point in the case, no one has been charged in Natalee's case, but it is highly suspected that foul play occurred.

In late July, a tipster said they witnessed van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers allegedly digging to bury a body. The authorities drain a pond near the Marriot hotel, but no new information is uncovered.

Another Arrest

By August 26, 2005, the Kalpoe brothers were once again arrested on suspicion of rape and murder in connection to Natalee's disappearance. A third unnamed individual was also arrested during this time, but there is limited information. The Kalpoe brothers were detained but not yet charged. Days later, an Aruban judge orders the release of van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers for lack of evidence. Despite this development, authorities tell the public that Natalee's case is still open.

Joran Goes Public

In a bizarre turn of events, van der Sloot participates in a one-on-one interview as part of ABC New's Primetime with Chris Cuomo. Since he attended school in the Netherlands, he flew to New York for the interview, which was a media spectacle. The suspected killer spoke out about his version of what happened to Natalee, changing his story. He claims they planned on going to his house to have sex with her, but he didn't have a condom. He claims that they were gambling at Natalee's hotel, and then they went to the bar. He also says that Natalie seemed like she drank a lot that evening.

Van der sloot claimed that Natalee left him by choice because "There was this guy. I don't know who he was, but he screamed to Natalee to get out of the car now..."

Joran states that they spent time on the beach and that the last time he saw her, "she was sitting on the sand by the ocean." Allegedly, he wanted to walk her back to the hotel, but Natalee refused.

Van der Sloot claimed he made a mistake by leaving her at the beach and that it was "part of his lifestyle" to go out, be single, and pick up girls.

Van der Sloot denies killing Natalee.

Kalpoe Brothers and Joran Are Arrested Again

On November 21, 2007, Aruban authorities announced they re-arrested van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers. They were charged with "involvement in the voluntary manslaughter of Natalee Holloway or causing serious bodily harm to Natalee Holloway, resulting in her death."

This was the first time all three men were formally charged.

By December 1, 2007, the Kalpoe brothers are released once again. The judge cites, "the new evidence, together with the existing evidence in this case, produce serious grounds for the suspicion of some kind of aiding and abetting, of covering up the traces of a crime committed, or of the disposing of a corpse."

Under Aruban law, someone accused does not qualify for pretrial detention. Six days later, van der Sloot was also released, pending any potential trial, but the judge cited a lack of evidence. On December 18, 2007, the charges against the Kalpoe brothers and van der Sloot were dropped due to lack of evidence. Beth Holloway was outspoken about this decision, saying she felt like all three men knew details about her daughter's disappearance.

Holloway Family is Extorted

In a bizarre turn of events, van der Sloot wrongfully and willingly extorted the Holloway family. He contacted the Holloway family attorney regarding the location of Natalee's remains and details about how she died. He demanded $250,000 in exchange for that information. He demanded an initial payment of $25,000; van der Sloot wanted $10,000 in cash, then Beth would have to promptly wire $15,000. Once again, van der Sloot could not provide legitimate information regarding Natalee's remains.

A Case Within A Case

On May 30, 2010 – exactly five years after Natalee was last seen – 21-year-old Stephany Flores Ramirez also vanished. Three days later, she was found dead in a Peru hotel room. The hotel room was booked under van der Sloot's name. Security cameras show them entering the hotel room at 5:16 a.m.

The two were playing online poker on his computer when an instant message alluded to Natalee's disappearance. Stephany began questioning van der Sloot about his involvement. He was drunk and angry. He proceeded to beat and choke her before smothering her with his bloodied shirt in a hotel in Peru.

The scene was violent, and after the murder, he purchased two coffees and some cake and ate them over Flores' body.

By June 3, 2010, van der Sloot was arrested in Chile, and he allegedly confessed to killing Stephany, claiming that the stress of being a suspect in Natalee's case caused him to act impulsively.

Stephany Flores Ramirez

Where the case stands today.

Natalee's case was a media spectacle, receiving constant media attention from US and international news outlets.

In 2018, Dave Holloway participated in a six-part Oxygen docuseries titled "The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway." The series was met with a lot of controversy. Beth Holloway filed a $35 million lawsuit against Oxygen, and Brian Garden Media claiming that the show was fake and wrongfully raised her hopes about finding out what really happened to Natalee. Human remains were discovered as part of the docuseries, but it was determined that they did not belong to Natalee.

On June 8, 2023, van Der Sloot was extradited to the United States, where he ultimately pled not guilty to one count of extortion and one count of wire fraud.

Currently, van der Sloot is awaiting trial in an Alabama jail.


  1. Date Missing:May 30, 2005
  2. Birthday:October 21, 1986
  3. Current Age:37
  4. Age at Incident:18
  5. Race:Caucasian / White
  6. Gender:Female
  7. Height:5'4"
  8. Weight:110 lbs
  9. Hair Color:Blonde


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