Aruba Cops Release Two Suspects

A sign showing Natalee Holloway, left, an Alabama high school graduate who disappeared while on a graduation trip to Aruba, and American flags are seen on a boat dock as workers pass by in Palm Beach, Aruba, Monday, June 13, 2005, the beach where she stayed in a hotel before she disappeared two weeks ago today on May 30. (AP Photo/Leslie Mazoch) AP

Prosecutors in Aruba have released two former hotel security guards who were the first men detained in the disappearance of an Alabama honors student, and one proclaimed his innocence.

"I'm very happy but also disappointed," said Antonius "Mickey" John, as he was freed by police in Aruba late Monday. "I knew from day one that I was innocent."

Authorities are still holding three other suspects - three young men who took 18-year-old Natalee Holloway to a beach early in the morning on May 30th - the day she disappeared.

The release of John, 30, and Abraham Jones, 28, came before a judge reviewed a motion for the release filed Monday, said John's lawyer Noraina Pietersz. And it came the day after the missing girl's mother said she believed the former security guards, who were detained on June 5th, are innocent.

Beth Holloway Twitty said Sunday that she does think the other suspects do know what happened to her daughter, who was in Arbua with other teens on a trip to celebrate their high school graduation.

Twitty has also said that if she does not see results in the investigation soon, she might start to believe that authorities are trying to protect the three young men.

"All three of those boys know what happened to her," said Twitty in an interview in her room at the Holiday Inn, the same hotel where Natalee was staying before she disappeared on May 30. "They all know what they did with her that night."

Holloway Twitty declined to say what she thought happened or whether she believes her daughter is still alive.

The teen vanished hours before she was expected at the airport following a five-day trip to the Dutch Caribbean island with 124 classmates and seven chaperones celebrating their graduation from Mountain Brook High School, near Birmingham, Ala. Her U.S. passport and packed bags were found in her hotel room.

It has now been two weeks since Natalee Holloway vanished. There is no sign of her, and rumors outnumber hard facts, reports CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella. Reports swirled over the weekend that one of the three suspects admitted "something bad happened," that the 17-year-old confessed, that a suspect led police to a body. They all turned out to be false.

The three suspects still in custody - the 17-year-old son of a Dutch justice ministry official and two Surinamese brothers - were detained Thursday. Lawyers for all five suspects picked up in connection with the case have insisted their clients are innocent, and no one has been formally charged.

The mother of the 17-year-old suspect told CBS News her son had nothing to do with it. Anita Van Der Sloot says her son is a star student and a good athlete, with a wide circle of friends. She doesn't remember him talking about Natalee Holloway.

Van Der Sloot also said her son wanted to help with the search, but was advised against it.

"It drove him crazy that he couldn't do anything because of the investigation, and he wanted to go out and look, and he's still very positive that she's alive, and she's somewhere," Anita van der Sloot said.

Prime Minister Nelson Obuder went on national television Sunday night to reaffirm Aruba's commitment to solving the case. Authorities "are doing all that is possible to resolve what happened as soon as possible," he said.

But Holloway Twitty, 44, said she was not satisfied. "I'm not getting any answers," she said. "I don't feel any further along than the day I got here."

Composed but clearly tired, she said she had lost 10 pounds since the search began and was having trouble sleeping. The preschool speech pathologist spoke of drawing strength from her deep faith in God and the support of relatives and concerned Arubans.

The Dutch suspect and the Surinamese brothers have told police they brought Natalee Holloway to a lighthouse beside the island's Arisha Beach, but didn't get out of the car.

The brothers, Satish Kalpoe, 18, and Deepak Kalpoe, 21, also told police that Natalee and the Dutch teen had been kissing in the back seat of the car. According to a lawyer for the brothers, they say they dropped her off at her hotel about 2 a.m. and last saw her being approached by a man in a security guard uniform before they drove off.

Holloway Twitty said that she herself reviewed security videos from the Holiday Inn and has concluded that the young men never brought her daughter back to the hotel.

"That story was a lie," she said.

Cobiella reports that not a single frame of security video at the Holiday Inn shows her coming back.

Investigators have said they are pursuing all leads, and Oduber told a news conference last week that "nobody stands above the law."

Islanders and tourists attended church services Sunday to pray for the teen.

Holloway Twitty said she will not leave Aruba until her daughter is found.

"I will not be satisfied until they give me back my daughter. I want her and I want her now."

  • Scott Benjamin

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