ORANJESTAD, Aruba — The mother of a missing Alabama teenager said Sunday that she believes three young men who were with her daughter the day of her disappearance know what happened to her.
Beth Holloway Twitty, 44, said Aruban authorities should pressure the young men to reveal what they know. She also said she thought that two former hotel security guards detained in connection with the disappearance of 18-year-old Natalee Holloway were innocent and should be released.
“All three of those boys know what happened to her,” the teen’s mother said during a 45-minute interview with The Associated Press in her hotel room at the Holiday Inn, the same hotel where Natalee Holloway was staying before she disappeared on May 30. “They all know what they did with her that night.”
Holloway Twitty declined to say what she thought the boys had done or whether she thought her daughter was still alive.
The three young men — the son of a Dutch justice ministry official and two Surinamese brothers — have told police they brought Natalee Holloway to a lighthouse beside the island’s Arisha Beach, but didn’t get out of the car. The brothers, Satish Kalpoe, 18, and Deepak Kalpoe, 21, also told police that Natalee and the Dutch boy had been kissing in the back seat of the car. They said they dropped her off at her hotel about 2 a.m. and last saw her being approached by a man in a security guard uniform before they drove off, a lawyer for the brother’s has said.
The three young men were detained on Thursday. Two former hotel security guards who worked at a hotel not far from the Holiday Inn have been detained since June 5.
Holloway Twitty said she met the three young men within 12 hours of Natalee’s disappearance and she said it surprised her that it took authorities more than a week to detain them.
Authorities have said they are pursuing all leads, while Prime Minister Nelson Oduber has said that “no one stands above the law” on the island.
Natalee Holloway vanished hours before she was expected at the airport following a five-day trip to the Dutch Caribbean island with 124 classmates and seven chaperones celebrating their graduation from Mountain Brook High School, near Birmingham, Ala. Her U.S. passport and packed bags were found in her hotel room.
Defense lawyers for the former security guards said there wasn’t enough evidence to continue holding them.
“This is turning into a game, an illogical investigation,” said Noraina Pietersz, the attorney representing Antonius “Mickey” John, 30. John and Abraham Jones, 28, had been detained a week as of Sunday, and have denied any connection to Holloway. “The prosecution is pretending it has information that we don’t have.”
Attorney General Caren Janssen said Sunday that wasn’t the case but declined to give details. “We are still in the middle of an investigation,” she said.
A confession reported by a polic chief and its subsequent retraction by the attorney general fueled rumors of the young woman’s demise. The family has said no body has been found, and islanders and tourists attended church services Sunday to pray for the teen.
Valerie Stanton, a 35-year-old computer technician visiting from Washington, D.C., prayed Sunday at the Alto Vista chapel outside the capital. “This could happen in any city and it’s unfortunate a dark cloud is now over the island because people here are so nice,” she said.
At the Santa Ana Catholic church in the town of Noord, also outside the capital, the Rev. Rudy Lampe told about 300 parishioners to “pray to give the family an oasis of peace.”
“Today we stand with the family of Natalee,” Lampe said. “This is the first time something like this has happened on our island so we are all in shock.”
A couple of pictures of Holloway were posted at the entrance to the church. Back home in Mountain Brook, Ala., residents also attended services to pray for Natalee and scribbled notes of support and concern on a special dedication wall.
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