Dutch student denies role in disappearance

/ Source: The Associated Press

Dutch student Joran van der Sloot said in a television interview Friday that he was lying when he told someone privately he was involved in Natalee Holloway’s disappearance.

The statement came hours after Aruban prosecutors announced they were reopening their investigation into the disappearance of the Alabama teenager after seeing secretly taped material from a Dutch journalist.

Van der Sloot was interviewed by telephone by the respected Dutch television show “Pauw & Witteman” following reports that crime reporter Peter R. De Vries had captured him in an apparent confession.

“It is true I told someone. Everybody will see it Sunday,” said Van der Sloot, who has previously been interviewed by the program and whose voice was readily recognizable. De Vries claims to have solved the mystery of Holloway’s May 2005 disappearance with the help of an undercover investigation.

“That is what he wanted to hear, so I told him what he wanted to hear,” Van der Sloot said, adding that he had built up a relationship with the man he spoke to, but had never fully trusted him. He did not identify the man.

“It is so stupid, it is so stupid, it is really stupid,” Van der Sloot said, his voice cracking.

Aruban prosecutors said earlier Friday that they are reopening their investigation into Holloway’s disappearance after seeing De Vries’ material.

“The recordings made available to the Public Prosecutor have given the Public Prosecutor a reason to reopen the investigation,” the public prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Van der Sloot, who has lied in the past about his movements on the night Holloway disappeared during a school holiday, said he does not expect to be arrested again.

“It’s easy to prove that what I said is not true, and that actually this is much ado about nothing, and so it’s actually a shame that her mother has flown here and everything,” he said.

Holloway’s mother, Beth Twitty, has flown to the Netherlands ahead of Sunday’s television show.

Asked by one of the presenters why they should believe him, Van der Sloot replied: “Yeah, I wonder about that myself, you have no reason at all to believe me, no.”

Holloway, 18, of Mountain Brook, Alabama, 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 from a school trip to Aruba. No trace of her has ever been found.

The three were re-arrested in November, but released within weeks for lack of evidence. Prosecutors then dismissed their case against them, saying they lacked evidence even to prove a crime had been committed. Authorities have said the case could be reopened if new evidence surfaces.

Van der Sloot, who lived in Aruba at the time of Holloway’s disappearance, has always denied any role in her disappearance, as have the Kalpoe brothers.

On Thursday, Aruban prosecutors had said they were investigating new information provided by De Vries. Without providing details, the prosecutors said the new material might help them determine how Holloway died and what happened to her body.

De Vries told Dutch television that he used a hidden camera in Aruba and the Netherlands to obtain images “that have proved to be very important” and that he would reveal what happened to Holloway on Sunday.

Two weeks ago, after an appearance on “Pauw & Witteman” with De Vries, Van der Sloot threw wine in the journalist’s face after he challenged his credibility.