Suspect in Natalee's case changes story|
Dutch teen's father arrested
By Peter Prengaman
Associated Press Writer
ORANJESTAD, Aruba — Aruban police arrested the father of a young Dutch teen already in custody in connection with the disappearance of a young Alabama woman, and said Thursday that he was considered a suspect in the 3-week-old case.
The teen's mother, meanwhile, told The Associated Press that her son had changed his story, admitting to her that he was alone with 18-year-old Natalee Holloway on a beach the night she vanished — and that he left her there, not at a Holiday Inn as he earlier stated. But Joran van der Sloot, 17, insisted that he did not hurt her, Anita van der Sloot said.
Paul van der Sloot, 52, a justice official on this Dutch Caribbean island, was arrested Thursday shortly after he and his wife left the San Nicolas prison where Joran is being held, Anita van der Sloot told the AP.
Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway Twitty, said she was pleased with the development.
"We are very pleased that the investigation is progressing," she said. "We feel like this will lead to more information to give us the answers we need for finding Natalee."
But Anita van der Sloot insisted her husband had done nothing wrong and said Aruban authorities arrested him because they were
"My husband is a man of integrity who has been working in the justice system 15 years and was taken without evidence," she said, describing him as "the most honest, beautiful man."
"How can this happen? This is not about Natalee anymore. It's about enormous pressure from the (United) States and the media," she said.
Authorities did not immediately respond to van der Sloot's allegation.
The elder van der Sloot "is a suspect in the disappearance" of Holloway, said Mariaine Croes, spokeswoman for the Aruban attorney general's office.
Authorities have described all five men currently in custody as "suspects." But it was not clear if each was suspected in the woman's disappearance or if some were suspected only of a lesser crime in connection with the case, such as withholding evidence.
Contacted by the AP hours before his arrest, Paul van der Sloot declined to comment on the case.
While Anita van der Sloot had been allowed to visit her son occasionally at the San Nicolas prison, authorities denied similar access to Paul van der Sloot, saying they believed contact between the two could damage the investigation.
Anita van der Sloot said she and her husband received a call from neighbors saying police were waiting for them at their home in Noord, Northwest of the capital, Oranjestad. She then called Police Superintendent Jan van der Straaten, who asked them to come to the police station. When they arrived, authorities "took my husband into custody as a suspect," Anita van der Sloot said, adding, "I don't know what to think."
Repeated searches of the island have produced no trace of Holloway, who vanished in the early hours of May 30, the last day of a high school graduation trip with 124 other students. Her passport and packed suitcase were found in her hotel room.
Joran van der Sloot has been in custody since June 9, along with two Surinamese brothers, Deepak Kalpoe, 21, and Satish Kalpoe, 18, in connection with Holloway's disappearance. Authorities also have arrested a 26-year-old party boat disc jockey, Steve Gregory Croes.
Police say Joran met Holloway at a casino two days before her disappearance. He and the Kalpoe brothers told authorities they took her from a popular restaurant to a beach, where Joran and Holloway were kissing in the back of the car, then dropped Natalee at the Holiday Inn about 2 a.m.
But Anita van der Sloot said Joran has since changed his story, telling her that he was alone with Natalee on a beach.
"He says, 'Mom, I dropped the girl at the beach. I walked with her. I left her there because she wanted to stay there. I left and I don't know what happened. There my statement ends,' " Anita van der Sloot said.
Anita van der Sloot didn't say which beach.
When asked if Joran had changed his initial story, she replied, "Joran changed his story only one time. I think he was scared because he sneaked out of the house that evening. I think he was scared and wanted to cover other people too. He changed his story once and added details."
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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