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2 suspects to be released in Holloway case

Two brothers re-arrested last week as suspects in the disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway will be released from jail, a prosecutor said Friday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A judge on Friday ordered the release of two brothers suspected in the disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway, ruling that the evidence wasn't strong enough to continue holding them, a prosecutor said.

Satish and Deepak Kalpoe, who were re-arrested in the case for a third time last week, were to be released from jail by Saturday.

Prosecutor Dop Kruimel said she hasn't decided whether to appeal the decision to release the men.

The two brothers and a third suspect who remains in jail, Joran van der Sloot, were the last known people to see Holloway alive before she vanished on May 30, 2005, hours before she was scheduled to return home to Alabama with fellow high school classmates celebrating their graduation.

The three suspects were re-arrested on Nov. 21 on suspicion of involvement in Holloway's death. Authorities said they had "new incriminating evidence," but defense attorneys complained that the new material amounted to little more than misunderstandings in the suspects' recorded conversations.

The 18-year-old girl from Mountain Brook, Ala., was last seen leaving a bar with the three suspects. All of them have denied having any role in her disappearance.

Lawyers say Holloway is dead
Prosecutors have said they have evidence that Holloway is dead, and they maintained Friday that the suspects were involved despite the judge's ruling.

"The new evidence together with the existing evidence in the case file produced serious grounds for the suspicion of some kind of aiding and abetting of covering up the traces of a crime committed or the disposing of the corpse," according to the statement from the prosecutors' office.

But the judge ruled in the closed-door session that the evidence was not strong enough to warrant the suspects' continued detention.

No trace of Holloway has been found despite extensive searches of the low-lying island that have involved Aruban soldiers, FBI agents, dive teams — even Dutch military jets equipped with search equipment.