ARUBA- Human remains discovered after 12-year search

ORANJESTAD, CMC | There is another twist to the mystery surrounding the disappearance of American high school graduate Natalee Holloway following the discovery of human remains in this Dutch Caribbean territory.

Holloway, 18, was with friends on a post- high school trip to Aruba in 2005 when she vanished, leaving her loved ones wondering for years what happened to her.

For years, speculation has swirled around Joran van der Sloot, a Dutch national last seen with the Alabama teen at a tourist bar on the island. With the discovery of the remains, Holloway's father, Dave Holloway, and private investiga­ tor T.J. Ward announced on NBC Television Wednesday that the remains are now being DNA-tested to confirm if they are Natalee's remains.

"We've chased a lot ofleads, and this one is by far the most credible lead I've seen in the last 12 years;' Holloway told NBC, showing hope that the lack of answers that has tormented him for more than a decade may be coming to a close. Holloway said that the discovery was the result of an 18-month investigation with Ward, a search that was documented for a television show that debuts Saturday. Previous theories stated that Holloway was hidden in a construction site or dumped in the sea, although an informant, a man identified by the television programme - only as Gabriel, said she was buried at an Aruban park. Gabriel said that he lived with a friend of van der Sloot's named John, who relayed that Hol­ loway began foaming at the mouth and died after being given a date rape drug.

Van der Sloot is currently serving nearly three decades in prison for the murder of another young woman in Peru. The now 30-year-old admitted to police in 2010 that he strangled Stephany Flores, 21, in his Lima hotel room after she learned of his connection to Holloway's disappearance.

A transcript of Van der Sloot's confession shows that he said he could give information about the Aruba case to police in exchange for a deal on the Peru killing.

US Federal prosecutors also filed charges against him in 2010 for allegedly trying to extort money from Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway Twitty, by giving her false informa­ tion about the whereabouts of her daughter's remains.