Arrests In Aruba Missing Teen Case

An Aruban police officer, right, arrests a suspect in connection with the disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway in the southwestern town of San Nicolas, Aruba, in the early hours of Sunday, June 5, 2005. AP

Two hotel security guards are under arrest in connection with the disappearance of an Alabama teenager during a high school graduation trip to Aruba.

The suspects – ages 28 and 30 – were arrested Sunday morning, each at his home in the southeastern community of San Nicolas, Attorney General Caren Janssen said. Authorities searched the homes and impounded three vehicles, police said.

Janssen would not specify the charges, saying only the case will go before a judge by Tuesday morning.

"The charges have a relationship with the disappearance," Janssen said. "There is a reasonable suspicion they may be involved."

The two work at a hotel down the street from where Natalee Holloway, 18, was staying, reports CBS News Correspondent Kelly Cobiella. Police searched their homes but found no trace of the young woman. A forensics team is examining their cars.

Holloway was last seen a week ago at a local bar. She was visiting the island with 100 classmates from Mountain Brook High School, near Birmingham, Ala., to celebrate their graduation.

Three young men claim they dropped off Holloway at her hotel at 2 o'clock in the morning, but she is not on any of the hotel security video.

Police spokesman Edwin Comemencia said that authorities had not ruled out the possibility that other people were involved.

"We hope she's alive," police commissioner Jan van der Straaten said. "Everyday I see the light at the end of the tunnel."

Neighbors described the two detained men as security guards for a hotel closed for renovation near the teen's hotel. Deputy police chief Gerold Dompig confirmed that the suspects were security guards.

At least 70 people showed up for a prayer vigil Sunday evening at a lighthouse on Aruba's gusty northwest point, singing a hymn and listening to a brief sermon by the Rev. Larry Waymire, an American who has lived in Aruba for six years.

"This is a trying time, not only for Aruba but for the world as a whole," Waymire, originally of Lexington, Tenn. , said during the 10-minute ceremony. "This has touched the lives of millions of people around the world."

Hundreds of Arubans and American residents have joined the hunt, upset that Holloway's disappearance could mar the image of this tranquil island. About 500,000 Americans visited Aruba last year.

Holloway's disappearance has shaken a sense of safety many Arubans took for granted in an island of 72,000 people that saw one murder and six rapes last year. This year, there have been two murders and three rapes, police said.

Holloway, a straight-A student, had earned a full scholarship at the University of Alabama and planned to study pre-med, Reynolds said. He described his niece as a levelheaded girl who would not have done anything rash.

Back home, dozens of Holloway's friends and classmates attended an afternoon prayer vigil Saturday. Stores are selling out of yellow ribbon as residents put bows on trees, mailboxes and doors all over Mountain Brook.

"The entire community is very concerned and very much in prayer," said longtime city manager Sam Gaston.
  • Scott Benjamin

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