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Dutch student denies involvement in Holloway disappearance in Aruba
Aruba Missing Teen 6072881
Joran van der Sloot, right, sits in a car with his father, Paulus Van Der Sloot, after Joran was released from custody near Oranjestad, Aruba, in this Friday, Dec. 7, 2007, file photo. Aruban prosecutors said Friday that they are reopening their investigation into the disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway after seeing secretly taped material from a Dutch journalist. In the transcript, De Vries refers to a "confession" he obtained from suspect Joran van der Sloot, but doesn't say what he allegedly admitted to. - photo by Associated Press
    THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The mother of missing American teenager Natalee Holloway said that she’s now convinced her daughter is dead after watching hidden camera footage of a Dutch student allegedly acknowledging involvement, according to an interview published Saturday.
    ‘‘I can let her go now and begin mourning,’’ Beth Twitty said in an interview late Friday with the best-selling Dutch daily De Telegraaf. ‘‘The 1 percent of hope I had that she was still alive is gone.’’
    Joran van der Sloot on Friday denied that he had anything to do with Holloway’s disappearance in Aruba, saying he lied when he told someone privately he was involved.
    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 in which he will claim to have solved the mystery of Holloway’s May 2005 disappearance with the help of an undercover investigation.
    It was not known whether Twitty had heard of Van der Sloot’s denial before she spoke with the Dutch newspaper. Twitty, who is in the Netherlands at De Vries’ invitation, was not available to speak Saturday, said Peter Schouten, a spokesman for the crime reporter’s show.
    Van der Sloot spoke to the late night current affairs show by telephone. His voice was recognizable from an earlier appearance on the show, which has closely followed the Holloway case.
    ‘‘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.
    Van der Sloot’s statement Friday came hours after Aruban prosecutors announced they were reopening their investigation into Holloway’s disappearance after seeing De Vries’ material.
    Aruba prosecutors made no reference to the possibility of an arrest, and Van der Sloot said he does not expect to be arrested again.
    ‘‘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 Van der Sloot, but doesn’t say what he allegedly admitted to.
    ‘‘This De Vries says he has solved the case. We hope that what he’s got is what he said he’s got,’’ Holloway’s father, David, said when reached by phone in Meridian, Miss. ‘‘Any new information moves the case forward. We’ve been down this road in the past and I just hope this gives us more information about what happened to Natalee.’’
    Holloway, 18, of Mountain Brook, Ala., was last seen in public leaving a bar with Van der Sloot and two Surinamese brothers — Deepak and Satish Kalpoe — hours before she was due to board a flight home from a school trip to Aruba. No trace of her has ever been found.
    The three were re-arrested in November, but released within weeks for lack of evidence. Prosecutors then dismissed their case against them, saying they lacked evidence even to prove a crime had been committed.
    Van der Sloot, who lived in Aruba at the time of Holloway’s disappearance, has always denied any role in her disappearance, as have the Kalpoe brothers.
    Associated Press writers Jack Elliott Jr. in Jackson, Miss., Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Margaret Wever in Oranjestad, Aruba, contributed to this report.

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