A lawyer for a Dutch youth detained previously as a suspect in the disappearance of teenager Natalee Holloway said Monday that his client did not know the latest person arrested by Aruban authorities in the case.
Joseph Tacopina, a U.S. lawyer for Joran van der Sloot, said the detention of a person identified by authorities only as “G.V.C.” was good news for his client because it suggested the investigation was heading in a new direction.
“My client doesn’t know him at all,” Tacopina said in an interview with The Associated Press.
The detainee’s name has been reported by some media outlets in varying forms, but Aruban authorities declined to confirm his identity. However, NBC News has learned the person in custody is Gottfried Van Cromhout.
Tacopina, who said his investigators had been in contact with Aruban authorities, said the suspect was detained because police recovered a T-shirt belonging to him with “relevant forensic information” from the south side of the Dutch Caribbean island.
The lawyer said he did not know details about the forensic information or how it related to the disappearance of Holloway, a vacationing Alabama teen who was last seen leaving a bar with three young men May 30 — the final night of her high school graduation trip to Aruba.
Aruban authorities have released few details on the latest development. Over the weekend, they said only that the detained man 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.
Mother 'a little overwhelmed'
The mother of Natalee Holloway, Beth Twitty, and other relatives in Alabama don’t know much about the arrest in Aruba, according to an aunt of the missing teen.
“We were all together Saturday when (Beth) found out,” Marcia Twitty, sister of Beth Twitty, said in an interview Monday. “She’s been a little overwhelmed with people trying to call her and all.”
Three young men — van der Sloot and Surinamese brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe — were jailed earlier as suspects in the case until a judge ordered them released, ruling there was insufficient evidence against them.
Van der Sloot, now a college student in the Netherlands, has long maintained that he left Holloway on a beach near her hotel and denies any wrongdoing.
“Anything is good for my client because we’re not afraid of an investigation,” said Tacopina, who is defending van der Sloot in a civil suit filed by Holloway’s parents in the United States.
Dave Holloway, the father of the missing teenager, 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 told CNN over the weekend.
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 also previously searched for signs of the girl.