Published On: Sun, Feb 5th, 2023

South-American scammers fooled American journalist with bogus information about Natalee Holloway

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ORANJESTAD — Almost seventeen years ago, on May 30, 2005, Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway disappeared without a trace during a stay on Aruba. Her body was never found and the authorities have never been able to pin her disappearance and most likely murder on their prime suspect, Joran van der Sloot, who is currently serving a very long prison sentence in Peru for the murder of student Stephany Flores Ramirez in 2010, in Lima.

But Holloway made headlines again this week after the Aruban public prosecutor’s office issued a statement about a revival of the investigation into her disappearance. Unfortunately, the conclusion was that the new information that triggered the investigation was based on fraud.

The authorities still have not closed the investigation. “If we get tips that could bring clarity in this case, they will be investigated by the judicial authorities in Aruba,” a statement from the prosecutor’s office read. Those authorities include “the police force of Aruba, other investigating organizations and the public prosecutor’s office.”

The tips that triggered the latest investigation are based on information from the American journalist Greta van Susteren. She posted on social media that she was in the possession of “important information” that could solve Holloway’s disappearance.

The now 67-year old Van Susteren is a lawyer but also news anchor for NewsMax in the United States. Previously she appeared on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. In 2016, Forbes named her the 94th most powerful woman in the world. It is noteworthy that Van Susteren is also a Scientologist. Wealthygorilla.com reported her net worth per February 2023 to be around $35 million.

Based on Van Susteren’s information, the detective cooperation team (RST) started an investigation in June 2022 under the supervision of the prosecutor’s office and in cooperation with the American Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI.

This investigation focused on the question whether Van Susteren’s information was so concrete and accurate that it could lead to a solution. “Unfortunately this information has not been able to contribute to solving the disappearance of Natalee.”

The press release from the prosecutor’s office reveals that Van Susteren was taken for a ride by people from South America who fooled her through fraud and manipulation with false information in exchange for payment.

Van Susteren received a package through the mail from Colombia that contained shoes and clothing. According to the sender these items belonged to Natalee. But a forensic investigation by the FBI showed that the DNA found on these items did not match Natalee’s DNA. It did not match Joran van der Sloot’ DNA either. One shoe in the box turned out to be a counterfeit product that was probably manufactured in 2019.

Van Susteren also received several photographs and videos. Research showed that they were all manipulated forgeries. Researchers found that pictures of suspects in the disappearance of Holloway stemmed from a public Facebook-page. One picture that showed human bones that belonged, according to the sender, to Natalee Holloway, appeared to be taken from a public internet-page. Another picture was cut from a newspaper article about a garbage dump in Costa Rica.

Research furthermore showed that independent sources telling the same story simply did not exist. All the persons who approached Van Susteren were connected to each other.

The prosecutor’s office informed Van Susteren about the results of the investigation, but the American journalist was not interested. “She indicated twice that she did not want to receive an elaborate personal presentation from the researchers.”

The prosecutor’s office therefore informed her by mail. Natalee Holloway’s parents were also informed.


Related article: Verklaring OM Aruba in onderzoek verdwijning Natalee Holloway

Photo provided by DossierKoninksrelaties.nl.