New details have emerged in the disappearance of Alabama high school student Natalee Holloway, who was last seen during a graduation trip to Aruba in May 2005.
Daily Mail reported human remains were found at an undisclosed location in Aruba after Holloway's father Dave hired a private investigative team. Preliminary tests revealed that the remains belonged to someone of "eastern European" descent, which the Holloways are.
DNA testing is expected to take several weeks, after which the family hopes to know the true nature of the bone fragments. Technicians are conducting mitochondrial DNA tests to help determine more of the familial lineage.
Natalee, then 18, disappeared during a high school graduation trip to Aruba in May 2005, last seen leaving a local bar with then-17-year-old Dutch student Joran van der Sloot. Van der Sloot has remained the lead suspect in the case and has been questioned by police several times. He is currently serving a 28-year sentence in Peru for an unrelated murder, according to Fox News.
In interviews for the documentary "The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway," friends of Natalee's remembered seeing van der Sloot at various points during their vacation, including at a bar on the night of Natalee's disappearance. One friend noted that she saw Natalee get into a vehicle outside the bar, the last time she was seen alive.
The new DNA evidence reported by Daily Mail has come as relief to the family, but authorities in Aruba have disputed the facts presented by the Holloways.
Dorean Kardol, lead prosecutor in Aruba, said that “no human remains were found” in the area Dave claimed was searched.
"During an investigation by police in an area indicated by Mr. Holloway, we found remains, but they were found to be from animals," Kardol told HuffPost.
Dave responded to Kardol's comments, saying the bone fragments were currently being tested at a "reputable" lab in the U.S.
Kardol also mentioned that removing human remains from Aruba is illegal without prior authorization and stated that her office would consider criminal charges. She also stated that removing the evidence would essentially destroy any chance of using the evidence in a court case, as the removal would violate the chain of custody.
The FBI has also been unable to track down any record of human remains related to the death and disappearance of Natalee Holloway brought to the U.S. from Aruba.