One of the most high-profile unsolved disappearances in the United States is the case of Natalee Holloway. A beloved high school senior from the small town of Mountain Brook, Alabama, Holloway disappeared on May 30, 2005 while taking a senior trip with her classmates celebrating her recent graduation from high school. What would follow would be a media firestorm that would overtake the world for ten years and with little to show for it.

The prime suspect? Joran Van der Sloot, a 17-year-old local who was last seen with Holloway the night before her disappearance. Van der Sloot would change his testimony over the course of the next decade, stating Natalee’s parents, Jug and Beth Twitty, were targeting him because they need a resolution. However, over the course of multiple investigations and questioning, Van der Sloot would alter his story. In one instance he claimed to have had sex with Holloway and and then disposed of her body. However, he later recanted his testimony and claimed it was coerced, stating he and his two friends spent the evening with Holloway and dropped her off at her hotel that morning.

The Aruban police would also be called into question due to their slow progression on the case and mishandling of testimony and evidence. Friends and family began to take matters into their own hands in an effort to come up with some clues as to what happened the night of Natalee’s disappearance. Unfortunately, this would backfire for her mother Beth who was seen as fabricating claims and misguiding the media throughout the investigation.

In 2010, Joran Van der Sloot was arrested for the murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores. He admitted to killing her because she was on his laptop without his permission and he believed she found incriminating evidence linking him to the disappearance of Holloway. Van der Sloot was sentenced to 28 years in prison for Flores’s death.

That same year, Natalee’s father petition the court to have Natalee declared legally dead, despite his ex-wife Beth trying to block the motion. Thankfully, the court sided with father in order to provide him with some closure. However, new evidence that has come to light over a decade later, may shine some light on what actually happened to Natalee Holloway. But first, it’s important to understand what led the investigation to his point, from Holloway’s promising beginnings to her ultimate demise.


20. Humble Beginnings

Image: Scared Monkeys

Natalee Holloway was anything but trouble growing up. What one would consider a picture-perfect student, she graduated with honors from Mountain Brook High School in Mountain Brook, Alabama. Natalee had a younger brother named Matthew, and they both lived with their mother Beth and her new husband Jug Twitty, who was a well-known businessman in the area