The Natalee Holloway disappearance case has become harder to solve because the main suspect's father has died. Crime reporter Peter R. de Vries told Radio Netherlands Worldwide,
"It's always sad if a relatively young person suddenly dies. It's also a painful loss for the investigation into the Holloway case. I am convinced that Mr Van der Sloot knew more than he had told us. He may have helped his son cover up parts of the truth."
Son still a suspect
Joran van der Sloot's father collapsed on Wednesday evening while playing tennis at the Tierra del Sol estate on the Dutch Caribbean island. Emergency service staff were unable to resuscitate him. Paul van der Sloot was 57.
His son Joran is still suspected of involvement in the disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway on Aruba in May 2005. The case was brought back into the limelight when Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries secretly filmed Joran van der Sloot claiming that he had dumped Natalee's body in the ocean. This potentially incriminating statement was not accepted as evidence by the court.
Crime reporter Peter R. de Vries spoke to Paul van der Sloot on several occasions. "My intuition as a researcher told me that Mr Van der Sloot knew more about it, but wanted to protect his son, which is natural. His attitude struck me as tense, for instance when I referred to Natalee being dead. His response was, 'Who says she's dead? There is no evidence.' And his son Joran said that when he was in prison, his father had smuggled a cellphone into his cell, so he could keep up with developments."
The suspect, who lives in the Netherlands, was interviewed by Aruban police in Rotterdam early in 2008 and declared persona non grata shortly afterwards, making it practically impossible for him to return to Aruba.
Joran's lawyer says that the TV admission was untrue; his client had only wanted to impress the man he was talking to, trying to gain some credibility in the crimininal world.
Later in 2008 the US TV channel Fox broadcast an interview with Joran van der Sloot. He told interviewer Greta van Susteren that he had sold Natalee Holloway to a Venezuelan on the beach for 10,000 dollars. The man was apparently looking for a blonde sex slave. In the interview, Mr Van der Sloot also claimed that his father Paul had bribed policemen on Aruba to the tune of 50,000 dollars. These statements, too, have not been taken into account by the legal authorities.
Paul van der Sloot, a lawyer who was training as a judge on Aruba and who was respected on the island, was repeatedly interviewed by the media in connection to his son's alleged involvement in the case. It was never clear how much Mr Van der Sloot really knew about Joran's role in the affair.
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