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Holloway case solved? New info surfaces

Aruban prosecutors said Thursday that authorities are investigating new information in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway provided by a Dutch crime reporter.
/ Source: NBC News and news services

Aruban prosecutors said Friday that authorities are investigating new information in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway provided by a Dutch crime reporter.

A source close to the investigation told NBC that the information is a secretly recorded conversation between Joran van der Sloot, a Dutch man who was a suspect in the case, and a person previously unknown to investigators in Aruba.

In the conversation, Van der Sloot allegedly gives details about the disappearance.

The Aruba prosecutor's office said that information from Dutch reporter Peter R. de Vries may help resolve what happened to the American, who vanished during a May 2005 school vacation to the Dutch Caribbean island.

"This information may help considerably in the solution of the mystery of Natalee's disappearance," the prosecutor's office said, without saying what it might be.

"The mystery of Natalee Holloway will be solved Sunday," De Vries said on the Dutch television show RTL Boulevard, which showed him meeting Natalee's mother, Beth Twitty, at an Amsterdam airport. "It was a big operation that we worked on for months."

De Vries’s Web site said the information was gathered through “an ingenious hidden camera tactic.” It said the reporter traveled to Aruba last week to inform authorities of his findings.

De Vries had a testy exchange earlier this month during a televised interview in the Netherlands with van der Sloot.

Van der Sloot, who was among the last people seen with the missing American, threw wine at De Vries after the reporter challenged his credibility.

Joseph Tacopina, a U.S. attorney for Van der Sloot, said it was irresponsible for prosecutors to make the announcement without describing their evidence.

"They act quite frankly like clowns," he said. "If they have a resolution, they should bring a case and stop talking about cryptic information."

Prosecutors dismissed their case against Van der Sloot and two other suspects last month, saying that they lacked evidence to charge them or even to prove a crime was committed. Authorities have said the case could be reopened if new evidence surfaces.

Holloway, of Mountain Brook, Ala., disappeared the final night of her high school graduation trip to Aruba. She was 18 at the time.

She was last seen in public leaving a bar with Van der Sloot and two Surinamese brothers — Deepak and Satish Kalpoe — hours before she was due to board a flight home. The three men have been repeatedly detained as suspects but denied any wrongdoing.