A witness who saw missing teen Natalee Holloway in 2005 recalls the moment she was being driven away in a car.
Jessica Caiola said that she had assumed that the 18-year-old had gotten a ride back to her Aruba hotel where other American vacationing teens were staying.
Caiola revealed new details in her first interview in Oxygen’s “The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway,” which premiered Saturday. “I remember seeing Natalee in a white car driving away,” she said, as reported by People magazine.
“The window was down so we could see it was her in the back of the car,” she said. “My impression was, ‘Oh, great, she found a ride back to the hotel.’ “
Holloway was reported missing the next day.
Law enforcement and Natalee’s relatives believed that Dutchman Joran van der Sloot, who is now serving a 28-year sentence for a murder in Peru, was responsible for her disappearance.
“He was absolutely at Carlos’n Charlie’s, 1,000 percent,” said Caiola of van der Sloot. “Natalee and I were actually talking at the bar and interacting and having a good time.”
“I remember seeing Joran van der Sloot at the casino at our hotel,” she added. “That was the first time I saw him and I remember chatter of him, like, ‘He’s so cute. Who’s going to hook up with him?’ Those sort of things were floating around. That was probably the extent to which I got close to him.”
But she couldn’t remember if Holloway was with van der Sloot. “What I can tell you is he was there multiple nights of our trip,” she said. “I believe it was the second to last night I saw him at the casino.”
She noted, “I thought she was still alive and she had been sold or traded, something of that nature, and we could find her.”
The woman said she never took a photo.
“I never took a photo of Natalee before that night,” Caiola said.
Holloway’s father, Dave, said in the Oxygen that DNA testing is underway on human remains that were found on Aruba. That could take as long as a month to complete, he told NBC’s “Today.”
“When we determined these remains were human, I was shocked,” Holloway said Wednesday, Aug. 16, on the “Today” show. Holloway and private investigator TJ Ward are subjects of a new TV series.
However, Aruba Public Prosecutor Dorean Kardol told left-leaning HuffPost on Friday, “No human remains were found” in the area that the girl’s father singled out.
“During an investigation by police in an area indicated by Mr. Holloway, we found remains, but they were found to be from animals,” Kardol said.
“Natalee was an all-American kid,” her father said in the trailer for the show. “Straight A student. Very pretty girl. Had her life and goals already planned out. She was going to go to the University of Alabama with a scholarship … You know, her goal was to be a pediatrician and there’s no doubt in my mind that if this haven’t happened in Aruba, we’d be calling her Dr. Holloway … And in a blink of an eye, all those hopes and dreams were gone forever.”