Arrest made in Holloway case

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 16, 2006

Associated Press Writer

ORANJESTAD, Aruba – An announcement that police made an arrest in the disappearance of teenager Natalee Holloway left many islanders wondering Sunday who the suspect is – and whether the arrest marked a real breakthrough in the almost year-old case.

Aruban authorities would only say late Saturday that the person arrested is 19 years old and has the initials “G.V.C.” In Aruba, when an arrest is announced, officials usually release only a suspect’s initials, and not a full name.

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Antonio Carlo, attorney for Dutch national Joran van der Sloot, who was arrested last year but then released for lack of evidence, said he hoped the new arrest would shed light on what happened to Holloway, an honors student from Mountain Brook, Ala., who disappeared on May 30. It was the final night of the 18-year-old’s high school graduation trip to this Dutch Caribbean island.

“My client has from the beginning maintained his innocence, and I think the sooner this case is resolved, the better,” Carlo told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his home, adding that he did not know the name of the suspect.

“We will wait and see what comes of this arrest,” he said.

Holloway’s father, Dave Holloway, said Sunday he has been informed of the arrested person’s identity but did not recognize the name.

“We’re hopeful that something will come out of it,” Holloway told CNN.

Holloway was last seen leaving an Aruba bar with van der Sloot and Surinamese brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe. Van der Sloot has said he left Holloway on a beach near her hotel after they had kissed.

Mariaine Croes, a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office, said Saturday that Aruban authorities were not prepared to disclose why the person was arrested or how the arrest was linked to the Holloway case.

Dave Holloway said he was still suspicious of van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers.

“I still think that these three original suspects still know more than what they told us,” he said.

There have been a number of false leads in the investigation, and at least three other people were detained without being charged.

In recent weeks, Aruban police have searched sand dunes on the northern coast of the island. Dutch Marines, the FBI and hundreds of volunteers have previously searched for Natalee Holloway.

Associated Press Writer Andrew Selsky contributed to this report from San Juan, Puerto Rico.