Aruban officials announced Tuesday that a jaw bone found earlier this month on an Aruban beach was indeed human, but it was not the jaw bone of missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway. According to CNN, results from DNA tests conducted at the Netherlands Forensics Institute in The Hague revealed that the bone was not consistent with dental records supplied by Natalee Holloway’s parents.
The Aruban Public Prosecutor’s office said in a public statement that the results of the forensics tests “excludes the possibility that the bone material found in Aruba is that of Natalee Holloway.”
The jaw bone had been discovered by an American tourist couple walking the beach near the Phoenix Hotel, which is located on the western side of Aruba. They turned the find, which appeared to be part of a jaw bone with a molar still attached, over to the resort hotel. Aruban authorities took control of the bone when they were contacted by employees of the Phoenix Hotel, later ascertained that the bone was human, then sent the material to the Netherlands for further testing in the hope that it would help in resolving the Holloway mystery.
Holloway disappeared in the early morning hours of May 30, 2005. She was vacationing with classmates on a senior trip and was last seen exiting an Oranjestad nightclub with three young men. One of those men, Joran Van Der Sloot, has been arrested twice in connection to Natalee Holloway’s disappearance but released due to lack of evidence. He was also taped in 2008 by a Dutch reporter confessing to being present when the teenager died, but Aruban judges refused to accept the tape as evidence. Most recently, he was in contact with Holloway’s mother, Beth Twitty, earlier this year and offered to disclose where the young woman’s body was located in exchange for money.
After wiring Van Der Sloot the money, investigators, working on information provided by Van Der Sloot, were unable to locate a body or any remains of the missing teen. Joran Van Der Sloot was later indicted on extortion charges.
But the money gained from his dealings with Holloway’s mother and her associates was used to travel to South America, where the now-23-year-old Van Der Sloot was subsequently charged with the suspected murder of a 21-year-old business student from the University of Lima.
According to Peruvian authorities, Van Der Sloot allegedly befriended Stephany Florex Ramirez at a Lima casino after she won money, took her back to his hotel room, then later killed and robbed her. He is currently awaiting trial for the murder, to which he has both confessed and recanted, but has said on several occasions that he wants to talk with Aruban authorities about the Natalee Holloway case.
Although it is unfortunate that Holloway’s parents, family, and friends must continue to search for the missing young woman with no way of knowing if she truly has died or is just one of the world’s many missing, it is also unfortunate that the jaw bone was not identified, which could only mean that another young woman has somehow died and at least a part of her skeleton has been separated from her remains. It also constitutes another mystery Aruban authorities, with their limited manpower and resources, will be taxed with solving.
Rich Phillips, Susan Candiotti, Jean Casarez, Rupa Mikilineni, “Officials: Jawbone not Holloway’s,” CNN.com