A bone sent to the Netherlands for further testing has been revealed to be human, an Aruban prosecutor said Thursday. In fact, bone was found to be a jaw bone once belonging to a young woman, according to WSAF in Montgomery (AL) and the New York Daily News. Already the center of speculation that it might belong to Natalee Holloway, the Alabama teenager that went missing on the Caribbean island in 2005, the news has triggered a firestorm of renewed debate.
A piece of jaw bone with an intact tooth was sent to a Dutch lab for forensics and DNA testing after tourists found it on an Aruban beach on November 12 and turned it in to the nearby Phoenix Hotel. The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported that the hotel quickly call in the authorities to take charge of the find.
The Phoenix Hotel holds special interest in the Natalee Holloway case. Joran Van Der Sloot, the young Dutchman who is believed to be the last to see Natalee Holloway alive, mentioned the location in his questioning sessions with Aruban authorities. Van Der Sloot was arrested twice in connection to the teen’s disappearance but was set free due to lack of evidence each time.
“They are testing for a DNA match,” Aruban prosecutor Peter Blanken told CNN Tuesday .
Blanken told CNN that an Aruban forensics specialist had examined the bone and determined it to be that of a young woman, but cautioned against speculation until the final determination was made by experts in the Netherlands.
“I’m happy that it’s human,” Blanken said. “And the initial finding is that it’s from a young woman, so maybe we will be able to solve this case. I hope so. But we will wait to see what the findings are.”
Natalee Holloway went missing while on a senior trip with her high school classmates in April 2005. Joran Van Der Sloot, the prime suspect in the investigation, confessed that he was with Holloway when she died in an interview with a Dutch reporter in 2008. The tape of that conversation was ruled inadmissible as evidence and Van Der Sloot was not re-arrested.
However, Joran Van Der Sloot is currently in prison in Lima, Peru. Chilean authorities arrested him and extradited him in June for the suspected murder of Stephany Flores Ramirez, a 21-year-old business student at the University of Lima he had befriended while gambling at a casino in LIma. Authorities found Stephany Ramirez’ body in Joran Van Der Sloot’s room and determined that she had been killed three days prior to discovery, on May 30, the same day Natalee Holloway had disappeared five years earlier.
Although Joran Van Der Sloot confessed to killing Stephany Flores Ramirez, he has since retracted his confession statement and awaits trial.
He has told Peruvian authorities that he has information about the Natalee Holloway investigation that he will only give to Aruban authorities, but only if he is allowed to go to Aruba. Peruvian offiicials contend that such a deal will not be made. However, Peruvian and Aruban authorities have agreed to an exchange of information. Joran Van Der Sloot has yet to talk to the Arubans.
“Is it Natalee Holloway? Jaw bone found in Aruba belonged to young woman; DNA tests to follow,” NYDailyNews.com
“Tests underway to see if bone is Holloway’s,” CNN.com