Since 2005, Natalee Holloway’s missing person case has held the attention of the public with documentaries, court cases, and investigations. While the mystery remains on her disappearance, new evidence may help us finally discover what really happened.
Natalee, then 18, disappeared on a graduation trip to Aruba, sparking an international investigation. However, despite agents from the FBI, fifty Dutch soldiers, and three Dutch Air Force aircraft all searching, no remains were ever found, no charges were ever filed. In January of 2012, Natalee was legally declared dead in absentia.
In August, 12 years after his daughter disappeared, Natalee’s father David announced that with the help of a private investigator, he had located human remains and was having them tested to see if they were his daughter’s. It was this renewed probe into the disappearance that led investigators to John Ludwick, a friend of Joran van der Sloot, the longtime suspect in Natalee’s death.
Ludwick claimed that van der Sloot had discussed having Natalee’s remains cremated, and that he was paid $1500 to dig up her remains in 2010.
He said that despite cremation being illegal in Aruba, some morgues would cremate pets. Ludwick said van der Sloot spent hours crushing Natalee’s bones.
“The idea was to crush everything to the point where it wasn’t recognizable as her bones or skull or anything like that,” Ludwick said in “The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway,” a television miniseries documenting the new investigation.
“The only thing that got burned was the skull to burn the hair fibers,” he added. “It was doused in gasoline in a fire pit in a cave.”
He said Natalee’s crushed bones were mixed with those of a dog to further hide her identity.
Van der Sloot was originally arrested in 2005 on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering Natalee but was let go after a two-month detention, when authorities could not prove his involvement. He is currently in prison in Peru for an unrelated murder.