Natalee Holloway’s family may finally get closure more than 12 years after her 2005 disappearance. On Wednesday, her father, Dave Holloway, revealed that he and private investigator T.J. Ward had recently discovered human remains in Aruba that may belong to Natalee.
“When we determined these remains were human, I was shocked,” Holloway told Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie on the Today show. “I know there’s a possibility this could be someone else, and I’m just trying to wait and see.”
Holloway explained that he and Ward had an intensive 18-month investigation about Natalee’s disappearance. They put the remains through DNA testing to determine whether or not they belong to his daughter. “We’ve chased a lot of leads and this one is by far the most credible lead I’ve seen in the last 12 years,” said Holloway.
The investigation was documented for an Oxygen show set to premiere Saturday and led the pair to a man only identified as Gabriel, who claimed to be a previous roommate of John, a friend of Joran van der Sloot, a Dutch national who was last seen with Natalee at a tourist bar in Aruba and is believed to be linked to her disappearance.
According to Gabriel, who speaks directly to Holloway in a preview clip of the documentary, John told him that Natalee was slipped a date rape drug at the bar, which later caused her to foam at the mouth and choke to death. A panicked van der Sloot then, with the help of his father, allegedly put Natalee’s body in a burlap sack and buried her in a local park, planting a cactus over the spot to cover their tracks.
“And his dad goes, ‘Don’t you ever tell nobody. Nobody,'” Gabriel recounts in the clip. “But he told John.”
Natalee was last seen in May 2005 after she vanished during a trip with her friends following her graduation from an Alabama high school. Her disappearance has remained an unsolved mystery ever since.
The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway will premiere Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET on Oxygen.