Ships use sonar in new search off Aruba in case of missing Alabama teen


ORANJESTAD, Aruba (AP) – The Aruban coast guard searched offshore Wednesday for missing teenager Natalee Holloway, authorities said. Officials again refused to give any details about a 19-year-old man arrested over the weekend in connection with the year-old case.

The public prosecutor’s office said the coast guard was using sonar and other equipment to check an unspecified area off the Caribbean island. The search, the latest of many for the missing Alabama teen, was in its fourth day but had not previously been disclosed.

Officials on the Dutch island said they were interviewing witnesses and were in contact with authorities in the Netherlands about tips received after the airing of a television program devoted to unsolved crimes.

Authorities declined to provide details about the developments or to answer questions about the 19-year-old being held on suspicion of involvement in Holloway’s disappearance 11 months ago.

A judge on Thursday approved a prosecution request to hold the man pending further investigation. He was also detained on suspicion of drug offenses.

Under the law, another hearing for the man – identified only by his initials, G.V.C. – must be held by at least April 25 if the prosecution wants to continue holding him, said Mariaine Croes, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office.

The 19-year-old’s defense attorney, Eline Lotter Homan, declined to comment.

Holloway, who was 18 when she disappeared, was last seen leaving a bar with a Dutch teen, Joran van der Sloot, and two Surinamese brothers May 30.

Van der Sloot and the brothers, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe, were jailed and later released after a judge ruled there was not enough evidence to hold them.

Searches involving Dutch marines, the FBI and hundreds of volunteers have been conducted throughout the island and off the coast. More recent searches have focused on dunes along the island’s north shore.