Investigating a new lead, Aruban police are searching sand dunes along Aruba’s northeast coast in attempts to make a break in the case for missing Alabama teenage Natalee Holloway.
The island's deputy police chief now says credible information lead to this latest hunt for clues. These sand dunes could be the very last place where Natalee Holloway was seen alive by three young men previously held by Aruban authorities in her disappearance.
Jossy Mansur with Aruba's “Diario” newspaper and Holloway family attorney John Q. Kelly joined Rita Cosby on ‘Live and Direct’ to discuss the recent developments as well as a gag order in the case.
To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.
RITA COSBY, HOST, ‘LIVE AND DIRECT’: Jossy, starting with you, what do you know about this search? What was sort of the tip to go back to the sand dunes?
JOSSY MANSUR, “DIARIO” NEWSPAPER: The tip hasn't been revealed to us. There is a tip that one witness gave to the police that started this whole search at the area of the dunes. They have been searching yesterday. I think they were searching today. They still have about 20 more hours of searches to do.
COSBY: Jossy, you say one witness, who is this witness? When did this information come forward? Is it a new witness?
MANSUR: It's a witness the police recently interviewed. He gave an alibi, the alibi didn't work out. So, that started the police on this new search of the sand dunes. In the meantime, Tim and his people, are searching the oceans for a fish trap.
COSBY: You know, Jossy, you say he gave an alibi. Are you suggesting that police were talking to him as a possible suspect or having some involvement in the case?
MANSUR: The police did talk to quite a range of Joran's friends in the last few weeks. One of them apparently turned out to be of interest to them. They questioned him further. He gave some kind of an inkling or clue that they believe in that the girl was buried or is buried somewhere in the dunes.
COSBY: That's really significant. John, let me go to you. John, what have you heard? Hearing now this is one of the things I was hearing a lot what we were down in Aruba, that his friends could have some information or connection—are you getting a sense, as a representative of the family, that there's a representative here?
JOHN Q. KELLY, HOLLOWAY FAMILY ATTORNEY: Yes, I talked Karen Janssen yesterday and Gerold Dompig today, and as I understand it this is a new tip that came in within the last week. They felt it was fairly credible and it was very detailed. They would have been remiss not to follow through on it.
What they're doing it they're going to search the entire sand dune area with their probes, their metal probes. And hopefully there was some involvement, today we're trying to coordinate getting the FBI in there with cadaver dogs immediately afterwards to go through the turned up sand and soil.
COSBY: And you know, John, the fact that they are using cadaver dogs, and the thing we heard from Jossy that may be buried. Obviously, that's an ominous sign, but are you getting inkling, again, as Jossy was suggesting, maybe she was buried there?
KELLY: Well, yes. I mean, some of the information was confidential but there has been some very important information in terms of activity on the sand dunes, both that night when they were up at the lighthouse, which is directly across from the sand dunes there, and some observations that were made immediately afterwards, the next day by certain people involved in the initial search for Natalee. So, it's always been a particular place of interest all along. And I'm glad they're doing a very thorough search now.
COSBY: You know, Jossy, that's a pretty big area, isn't it, that they're checking? The dunes are pretty high?
JOSSY: Yes, this is a pretty big area. I think Art Wood has narrowed it down to a place where he did find a belt that was buried there. The belt was given over to the police. But we haven't heard anything more belt it just simply disappeared.
COSBY: In fact, I think they were saying that the belt was too old to be tested? Which Art would have physically looked at the belt, said it looked like there was still some good stuff on there to be able to at least determine whether or not it was connected.
What do you know about the gag order, too, Jossy. There is apparently a gag order on Chief Dompig. And I want to show what we've learned, is that Aruba's attorney general issued the gag order. Deputy Police Chief Gerold Dompig and Prosecutor Karen Janssen aren't allowed to talk about the case. Why are they trying to shut them up, Jossy?
MANSUR: I have no idea, but the gag order is a reality. I've heard about this. I've known about this gag order for some time now and they are strictly forbidden to talk to anyone in the media to begin with, and anyone else outside of the investigative team.
COSBY: That's very interesting. Because Dompig was on our show saying, he believes the three boys are guilty as hell.
John, have you seen Joran Van Der Sloot's—it looks like this is sort of his web site, which is what a lot of people believe. On it, there are interesting pictures and I think some troubling things. If you look at his blog, it—one of the pages—there's a picture, on top of it, there's a caption, no body, no case making fun of the situation. You can see it there with the picture of him with his family with his mother and father. You know, how disturbing is this? John?
KELLY: It's really disturbing. And as I understand it that's a statement that's originally attributed to his father, when he advised him. The father, Paul Van Der Sloot, who is now in court looking for monetary damages, which is shameful to say the least.
But apparently he got them lawyered up. He told them not to use their e-mails, not to use their cell phones, and to get a consistent story and assured them, that if there was no body found, there'd nobody case. And from all suggestions it appears he was at least complicit in the conspiracy to cover up whatever happened that night.
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