ORANJESTAD, Aruba — Three young men previously detained as suspects in the 2005 disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway were re-arrested Wednesday, the Aruban public prosecutor’s office said, citing new evidence in the case.
Dutch student Joran van der Sloot and two Surinamese brothers, Satish and Deepak Kalpoe, were arrested on suspicion of involvement in voluntary manslaughter and causing serious bodily harm that resulted in the death of Holloway, the prosecutor’s office said.
However, van der Sloot’s mother insisted her son had not been arrested but was only detained for more questioning.
Holloway, of Mountain Brook, Ala., was last seen leaving a bar with the three men on May 30, 2005, hours before she was scheduled to board a plane home with high school classmates celebrating their graduation on the Dutch Caribbean island. She was 18 at the time.
Hundreds of volunteers, Aruban soldiers, police and FBI agents spread out across the island for the missing teen. Later efforts would include divers, Dutch F-16 jets equipped with search equipment, and specially trained dogs. No trace was ever found of her.
Van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers had previously been detained on suspicion of taking part in her death, but they denied involvement and a judge released them for lack of evidence.
Van der Sloot, 20, was re-arrested in the Netherlands, where he was attending a university. The Kalpoe brothers — Deepak is 24, Satish, 21 — were taken into custody in Aruba.
Authorities “ordered their renewed arrest because further investigation into the disappearance has led to new incriminating evidence,” the office said.
Hans Mos, chief prosecutor in Aruba, said: “Our intention is to keep them in detention for a longer period.”
Van der Sloot’s mother, Anita, denied her son was arrested and said he was only taken into custody for more questioning. She said he wasn’t put in handcuffs.
“What they want to do with Joran is to bring him to Aruba for a final reconstruction,” Anita van der Sloot said.
She said her family and that of the Kalpoe brothers had also been questioned in recent weeks.
“The questions they asked were so obvious, things like, ‘Why did Joran leave his shoes on the beach?’ ” she said, referring to the place where her son said he kissed Holloway alone before her disappearance. “I think it’s ridiculous after two-and-a-half years to be doing this.”
The brothers were expected to make an initial appearance in an Aruban court Friday, at which point prosecutors were expected to present the new evidence to a judge. A court date had not yet been set for van der Sloot.