Mysterious new evidence uncovered by a Dutch reporter that suggests Natalee Holloway was murdered “answered a lot of questions” for the missing Alabama teen’s parents, their attorney said in an exclusive interview Friday.
For Holloway’s mother, Beth Twitty, hidden-camera videotape shown to her by noted Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries is compelling and convincing enough for her to accept the fate she has suspected — and feared — since her daughter went missing on the Caribbean island of Aruba nearly three years ago.
“She was satisfied that the tapes were authentic and, in her mind, it answered a lot of questions in terms of how Natalee passed away and why her body has not [been identified],” Holloway family attorney John Q. Kelly told TODAY co-host Matt Lauer on Friday.
De Vries announced that a Dutch television show to air on Sunday will “solve” the mystery surrounding Natalee’s disappearance after leaving a bar during a high school trip in May 2005.
On his Web site, de Vries revealed that the information he found was gathered through "an ingenious hidden camera tactic” over a long period of time.
He showed Aruban officials his evidence last week and The Office of the Public Prosecutor said the new findings could indeed explain how Holloway died and how her body was disposed of.
In a clip of the show aired on TODAY, Twitty is asked for her reaction to de Vries’ findings.
“Look what they’ve done,” she responded. “Look what they’ve done to Natalee. Look what they’ve done to a country … Look what they’ve done.”
A familiar suspect
According to reports, Joran van der Sloot, a suspect in the case before it was closed last month, was the focus of de Vries' investigation. Kelly said Twitty told him that the video she viewed provides evidence that van der Sloot allegedly admitted to being present when Holloway died and helped dispose of her body.
NBC News correspondent Michelle Kosinski told Lauer that one source close to the case reports a person, not involved in previous investigations, recently gained the trust of van der Sloot and was able to acquire specific information about Holloway.
In a Dutch television interview about the case in January, de Vries challenged van der Sloot's credibility. Van der Sloot reportedly responded off air by tossing wine on the reporter.
On Thursday, Joseph Tacopina, a New York attorney representing van der Sloot, chided Aruban prosecutors for making an announcement without divulging their evidence.
Van der Sloot, one of the last people seen with Holloway, has been arrested twice during previous investigations, but has never been charged with a crime regarding her disappearance. He has maintained his innocence throughout.
Holloway, 18 at the time of her disappearance, was last seen leaving a bar with van der Sloot and two Surinamese brothers hours before she was scheduled to take a flight home from a high school graduation trip.
Reopening the case
The questions raised between now and Sunday’s airing revolve around the quality of the tapes, how they were compiled and edited and if they do represent a “smoking gun” in the case.
The chief prosecutor in Aruba is proceeding cautiously.
“He’s being prudent,” Kelly, the family's attorney, told Lauer. “He’s following up on it and he’s making sure that it’s legitimate. You don’t want claims of alteration, that there was some kind of malfeasance, that it’s been cut and spliced, and I think he’s absolutely right in taking his time and making sure it’s authentic and it is what [it’s] billed as.”
There is also the matter of whether the tapes would be admissible in court.
“First of all, it was done in the Netherlands,” Kelly said. “In Aruba, you have to have at least one party consent to the conversation. If one party knew he was being taped … it would be admissible.”
Kelly, who spoke to Twitty on Thursday, said the mother was convinced by what she saw.
“Seeing is believing,” he said. “If it’s built up to what it’s supposed to be, everybody just has to look at it and make their own decisions. Hopefully it has the answers they’ve been looking for.”