Aruba Prosecutor: Tape Admissible in Court

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A Dutch crime reporter may have solved the Natalee Holloway case.

Holloway's disappearance during a school trip to Aruba back in May of 2005 sparked international intrigue and baffled prosecutors.

The case has centered around three suspects, one of whom included a young Dutch national named Joran Van der Sloot. Still, her body has never been found and no one has been charged with her murder.

But Dutch reporter Peter de Vries, conducting his own undercover investigation with a hidden camera, may have caught Van der Sloot admitting he played a part in Holloway's disappearance.

"I reckon I've been really lucky she's never been found," the young man says on the videotape. "Because if they do find her, I'm inconvenienced. If they have a body, they may have a case."

Van der Sloot says he was lying in those videotaped conversations and has denied any involvement with the case.

Tape Is Admissible

On Monday, the chief Aruban prosecutor said that the tape is admissible in court.

The Aruban courts will likely accept the tape as evidence because it was recorded by a private citizen without any influence by authorities, Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos told reporters.

"I take it very seriously," Mos said of the video.

The tape, which was first broadcast Sunday on Dutch television, has caused a renewed interest in the investigation. Mos said authorities in the Netherlands searched two homes Monday where van der Sloot has lived while attending college there.

The prosecutor declined to provide any details about the searches.

An Aruban judge had earlier denied prosecutors an arrest warrant to detain Van der Sloot based on the new information. But Mos said they will file an appeal Tuesday and expect a decision within a week.

Murder, Bad Judgment or Both?

In the tape that was broadcast, Van der Sloot said Holloway, 18, had been drunk and that she began shaking and slumped down on the beach where the two had been kissing.

"Suddenly she started shaking and then she didn't say anything," Van der Sloot said in Dutch, adding that he did not kill her. "I would never murder a girl."

He said he panicked and tried but failed to revive her. He said that Holloway looked dead but that he could not be sure she was not still alive when a friend took her away.

A Confession?

Mos said prosecutors believe Van der Sloot was telling the truth in the video because he seemed to struggle as he told the story and repeated it several times.

"Now, whether that is the truth, that has to be seen." he said. "Finally the court will have to decide whether this is a declaration. that we can use as evidence in this court of law."

Joseph Tacopina, a lawyer for Van der Sloot, said his client was not responsible for the Alabama teenager's death and that the tapes do not amount to a confession.

"There was no confession, no admission of a crime by Joran on any of these tapes, which is very telling," Tacopina said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

In the hidden camera footage, Van der Sloot spoke to a man he believed to be his friend, who gave him "drugs, marijuana, things like that," Tacopina told ABC.

But Natalee's mother, Beth Twitty, told ABC: "I don't think any of us are surprised by his reaction , but I know one thing. Once people see the video of Joran, there are no more questions. There is no one who can walk away from this believing that he is innocent."

She said Van der Sloot didn't even know if her daughter was alive or not.

"Natalee never even had the chance for a medical doctor or a coroner, anyone, to determine ," Twitty said.

Holloway, of Mountain Brook, Ala., was last seen leaving a bar with Van der Sloot and two brothers, just hours before she was to leave on a flight home.

The three were arrested shortly after her disappearance and again last November, but released for lack of evidence. Prosecutors then dismissed their case against them, saying they lacked evidence even to prove a crime.

The three young men have always denied any role in her disappearance.

Sources: Associated Press, ABC News

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