Natalee Holloway became a household name when she went missing on May 30, 2005 in Aruba. The mysterious disappearance of the 18-year-old from Alabama caused a media sensation in the United States as an unsuccessful years-long search for her broke out. Over ten years after Natalee was declared legally dead in 2012, the prime suspect in the case, Joran van der Sloot, admitted to murdering the teen in court on October 18. Joran pleaded guilty to extortion and wire fraud charges after he tried selling information about Natalee’s remains to her mother, Beth Holloway.
Throughout the nearly 20-year ordeal of the investigation into Natalee’s disappearance, her family vowed to find out the truth about what happened. Now they have their answers about who killed Natalee, though the teen’s remains are still undiscovered. Natalee’s loved ones who have been living with grief since the day she went missing in 2005. Keep reading to learn more about them.
Beth Holloway is Natalee’s mother. She was married to Natalee’s father, Dave Holloway, but they got divorced in 1993. She got remarried to George “Jug” Twitty in 2000 and they stayed together for six years.
Beth’s life changed forever when her daughter disappeared in May 2005. After Beth learned that Natalee missed her flight home to Aruba, she flew to the island and began searching for her daughter. From the very beginning, Beth was convinced that Joran and brothers Deepak and Satish Kalope were responsible for Natalee’s disappearance. Beth was more involved than anyone in the investigation and became a speaker on the topic of personal safety. She ounded the International Safe Travels Foundation to educate people on how to travel safely and the Natalee Holloway Resource Center to help families of missing persons.
In 2010, Joran attempted to export Beth for $250,000 by offering to reveal the location of Natalee’s body. Joran lied about where Natalee’s remains were and he was charged with extortion and wire fraud by a federal grand jury. Joran’s trial took a long time since he was already serving prison time for murdering another woman, Stephany Flores Ramírez, in Peru in 2010.
Beth was present in the courtroom when Joran confessed to murdering her daughter on October 18, 2023. Beth gave an emotional victim impact statement in court. “For 19 years you denied killing Natalee Holloway. Your lies have caused indiscernible pain. You have finally admitted that you murdered her,” she said, according to CNN. “You are a killer and I want you to remember that,” Beth added.
Beth spoke to reporters after the confession and revealed more about Joran’s admission. “He said that after killing her on the beach in Aruba, he put her into the water and that was the last that he ever saw her,” she said, per CBS News. “I’m satisfied knowing that he did it, he did it alone and he disposed of her alone.”
Dave Holloway is Natalee’s father. He got divorced from Beth in 1993 and got remarried to his current spouse Robin. Like his ex-wife, Dave was very involved in finding out what happened to his daughter. He hired a private investigator to look into Natalee’s disappearance. The investigation was filmed for the docu-series The Disappearance of Natalle Holloway that aired on Oxygen in 2017.
Dave told HollywoodLife in 2017 that he tried to prevent Natalee from going on her trip to Aruba. “I didn’t even know where Aruba was and I told her I’m not supporting that. It’s just too much. It’s too extravagant for a bunch of kids to go somewhere, it’s not happening,” he said. ut my foot down then, and of course I found out later that she went ahead and got her mom to sign her up,” Dave added. “I found out about it a few days before the graduation trip and I felt a little guilty. I said, ‘okay. Here’s your money and you’re spending money.’ And I kind of conceded and laid the blessing on her.”
Dave gave a victim impact statement that was released after Natalee’s murderer was finally revealed on October 18. “Natalee defended herself against his unwanted sexual advances,” Dave wrote, according to CBS News. “Protecting herself enraged an aggressive predator to the point of murder. He murdered Natalee, and then tortured and extorted those who loved her most. He is evil personified.”
Matthew Holloway is Natalee’s younger brother and only sibling. He was a sophomore in high school at the time of his sister’s disappearance. He got married and welcomed a daughter named Rylee in 2015.
Matt was understandably devastated after his sister went missing. He spoke with People in 2010 and speculated that Natalee had a seizure on the beach in Aruba and Joran dumped her body in the ocean. “I feel like that was the truth,” Matt said. “It’s hard to talk about it, but I think he put her in the ocean. That would make the most sense to me. All that stuff where he says she’s buried in a swamp or under a house being built, that’s not true.”
Matt also said at the time that he knew that regardless of what the real story was regarding Natalee’s disappearance, his sister was gone forever. “We’ve already come to terms that she is gone, that I’ll never see her again. I just hope nobody ever has to deal with that again, and go through that whole tragedy of missing a loved one.”