Archive for Saturday, February 2, 2008

Aruba reopening missing teen case

February 2, 2008


— Dutch student Joran van der Sloot denied Friday that he had anything to do with Natalee Holloway's disappearance, saying he lied when he told someone privately he was involved.

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 the respected Dutch television show "Pauw & Witteman" following reports that crime reporter Peter R. De Vries had captured him making statements about the case.

"It is true I told someone. Everybody will see it Sunday," Van der Sloot said, referring to De Vries' planned television show. 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.

"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.

"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.

One of Van der Sloot's attorneys, Joseph Tacopina, of New York, said his client shouldn't have discussed the case.

"He should have hung up the phone, but he didn't. Clearly it's not something his parents are happy about," Tacopina told The Associated Press.

"The evidence refutes what Joran supposedly said," said Tacopina, who said he heard of the interview through media reports. "It doesn't change the truth of this case. And the truth is, Joran had nothing to do with Natalee's death."

De Vries has not made clear what the "confession" consists of. Dutch newspapers published a partial transcript of his talks with Aruba prosecutor Hans Mos, and Mos' office said Friday that "what appeared on the Internet seems to be a reproduction of a part of the conversation."

In the transcript, De Vries refers to a "confession" he obtained from suspect van der Sloot, but doesn't say what he allegedly admitted to.

"This is very impressive," Mos is quoted as responding in the transcript, though it was not clear what specifically he was referring to. "We have thought to ourselves that this was a very probable chain of events but until now we lacked sufficient evidence."

In another part of the transcript, the prosecutor says: "Clearly, it's the first time that he's confessed to somebody. This is his coming out."


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