Celeb & Gossips

All the Leads That Proved to Be Letdowns in the Natalee Holloway Case

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Paul van der Sloot died suddenly of a heart attack in February 2010, leaving his son adrift. According to Holloway family attorney John Kelly, a desperate Joran emailed him that March, writing, as Kelly told Dateline, “‘I want to come clean. My father’s dead now. I have nothing to hide. I want to help Natalee’s family, but at a price, you know, for a quarter million dollars…I will tell you what happened to Natalee, where she is now so you can help Beth bring her home.'”

With Beth’s permission, Kelly met with van der Sloot in Aruba, promising to start with $25,000. The young man said he knew where the body was; Kelly asked what would happen if they didn’t pay him. Van der Sloot allegedly replied, “‘Beth can wait another five years.'” The family then turned to the FBI, which helped orchestrate a plan to make van der Sloot think he’d be getting paid in order to catch him committing wire fraud, which would at least be something to hold him on.

Kelly and Van der Sloot met again, and this time Kelly wired him a total of $25,000. In turn, van der Sloot led Kelly to a house near the Aruba Racquet Club, where he claimed he had stashed Holloway’s remains in what was then a freshly poured foundation, before the house was built. Kelly said on Dateline that van der Sloot claimed he had been on the beach with Natalee, he wanted to go, she resisted, and then he “got angry and actually threw her. He actually made the gesture in the car, on video, showing me how he threw her in anger, because she wouldn’t leave at that point. And according to him, she hit the back of her head, lots of blood and she was dead.”

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Kelly said he was skeptical of van der Sloot’s overall story, which was that he first hid Natalee’s body at the beach with his father’s help, and then the next day they buried her. But he still hoped they had shaken something loose.


“When I got on the plane May 11 [2010], I thought it was a done deal,” Kelly said. “And he was going to be arrested at some point. That he’d be talking at some point, and we’d get some closure at some point.”

But the house van der Sloot pointed to hadn’t been under construction in 2010, according to the authorities who said they didn’t find his story credible enough to make an arrest. He wasn’t even arrested for wire fraud.

Kelly said that van der Sloot remained in touch with him up until May 25, claiming he would turn himself in. Instead, he flew to Peru.

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