A forensics team from the Netherlands is waiting for permission from an Aruban prosecutor to conduct DNA testing on a bone fragment, according to ABC News/International. It is believed that the bone fragment could possibly belong to Natalee Holloway.
The Alabama teen went missing in Aruba in May of 2005 while on a high school graduation trip, never to be seen or heard from again. She is said to have spent her last hours with Joran van der Sloot, who was reportedly the last person to have seen Ms. Holloway alive. He was the main suspect in her disappearance, but the Aruban authorities were never able to gather enough evidence against him, so he was never charged in her disappearance.
The bone fragment has been received by the Netherlands Forensic Institute. Officials for the Dutch institute have stated that they are prepared to begin DNA testing on the bone as soon as approval is received. They will then compare and contrast the test results to the DNA profile of Holloway to determine if it is a match.
According to a Dutch newspaper named de Telegraaf, the bone was discovered on a beach in Aruba on Friday, Nov. 12, 2010 by tourists. The bone is believed to be a mandible, or the lower half of a human jawbone. The newspaper also states that there are photographs of the bone fragment, and that one of the photos depicts what appears to be an intact molar tooth. This could also lead to potential identification through the use of dental records.
On Nov. 16, the Netherlands Forensic Institute stated that it is not known at this time exactly how long the testing will take, and therefore would not project a timeframe for results. Officials from the Institute further stated that they would allow the Aruban authorities to publicize the findings once they are reached.
According to ABC News/International, John Q. Kelly, who is the attorney for Holloway’s mother, Beth Twitty, stated that Twitty would not travel to the Netherlands to await the results of the testing. Kelly stated that they have been hopeful before when other bones have been discovered. Each time so far, though, they have been disappointed.
In Kelly’s own words, “This could be the time. I don’t want to say it’s not, but there have been other bones found and gathered and tested. There have been photos of skeletons. There have been pictures of clothes and remains in lobster cages and sand dunes and everything else.”
Joran van der Sloot is currently awaiting trial in Peru in the Castro Castro prison, which is reportedly one of the toughest prisons in the world. Twitty traveled to the prison to visit van der Sloot in an effort to glean more information about the disappearance of Natalee. This was after van der Sloot allegedly bilked her out of $10,000 by agreeing to help her find her daughter’s body in Aruba, and then using the money to travel to Lima instead. It was at a casino in Peru where van der Sloot met Stephanie Flores, was later observed on hotel security videotape entering his room with Flores, then later leaving alone. Her body was discovered days later, and van der Sloot now faces charges in her murder.