The case surrounding the unsolved disappearance of American high school student Natalee Holloway took a dramatic turn Wednesday when her father announced that human remains had been found after an 18-month investigation.
Dave Holloway and private investigator T.J. Ward made the bombshell announcement on NBCâ€™s â€śToday,â€ť claiming that the human remains were uncovered in Aruba and are currently being DNA tested to determine if they belong to Natalee.
â€śWhen we determined these remains were human, I was shocked,â€ť Holloway told co-hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie. â€śI know thereâ€™s a possibility this could be someone else, and Iâ€™m just trying to wait and see.â€ť
If the remains turn out to be Nataleeâ€™s, it would represent the largest development in a case that has captivated the public for over a decade.
18-year-old Natalee had joined her friends on a post-graduation trip to the island of Aruba in 2005 when she suddenly went missing. The subsequent investigation into her disappearance centered on Joran van der Sloot, a Dutch national who was last seen with Natalee at a tourist bar.
Sure enough, it was information from a friend of Van der Slootâ€™s friend that led to the discovery of the remains.
â€śWeâ€™ve chased a lot of leads and this one is by far the most credible lead Iâ€™ve seen in the last 12 years,â€ť Holloway said.
Whereas many investigators were convinced that Nataleeâ€™s remains were either hidden in a construction site or dumped into the ocean, the informant â€“ identified only as Gabriel in an Oxygen documentary that is set to air on Saturday â€“ claimed that Natalee was actually buried at an Aruban park. Gabriel also claimed that Natalee had been given a date rape drug that caused her to foam at the mouth and die shortly thereafter.
Holloway said that the DNA test will take several weeks to a month to conclusively determine whether they are Nataleeâ€™s remains.
â€śIt would finally be the end,â€ť he said.