Suspect: 'Something bad happened' to missing Alabama girl

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The man who made the comment was leading police to the scene of the crime, authorities said.

ORANJESTAD, Aruba -- One of the young men detained in the disappearance of an Alabama honors student admitted "something bad happened" to the woman after they took her to the beach, a police officer said, while prosecutors said Saturday the investigation was at a crucial point.

But prosecutors refused to comment on the statement by deputy police commissioner Gerold Dompig, who told The Associated Press that the man who made that admission was leading police to the scene. He refused to identify which of the three young men who took Natalee Holloway, 18, to a northern beach the night she went missing made the statement.

Referring to Dompig's statement, prosecution spokeswoman Vivian van der Biezen said Saturday: "We neither confirm nor deny any information coming from other sources ... [about] alleged statements of suspects in this case."

"The investigation at the moment is the following: Five suspects are being held ... and we are at a very crucial, very important moment in our investigation," she said.

Police investigating Holloway's disappearance arrested a man at dawn Saturday but later said he had nothing to do with the case.

The three young men arrested Thursday -- two Surinamese brothers and the 17-year-old Dutch son of a high-ranking island judicial official -- were to appear before a judge Saturday, government spokesman Ruben Trapenberg said. Authorities have refused to say on what grounds they were being held. The judge would decide whether police have sufficient grounds to continue holding them.

Police also have detained two other men -- former security guards at a hotel near the one where Holloway was staying. No one has been charged in the case.

Island-wide searches by Aruban police, Dutch marines and hundreds of volunteer islanders and tourists continued Saturday, Trapenberg said.

Holloway vanished during a five-day trip to the Dutch Caribbean island with 124 classmates and seven chaperones celebrating their graduation from Mountain Brook, Ala., High School, near Birmingham. Police found her U.S. passport and packed bags in her hotel room after she failed to show up for her return flight that day.

Antonio Carlo, an attorney for the Dutch minor, said: "My client maintains his innocence." He said the boy would appear before a judge at noon.

A lawyer for one of the Surinamese said they told police they took Holloway to Arashi Beach, on the northern part of the island, in the early hours of May 30.

The brothers told police the woman was drunk and refused to get out of the car, said Noraina Pietersz, who is representing one of the two former security guards.

The three young men said Holloway stumbled in the parking lot of the hotel but refused help from her Dutch escort.

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