Aruba Suspects Remain In Custody

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

Authorities may hold suspects Nick John, 30, and Abraham Jones, 28, without filing formal charges for up to 116 days, their attorneys say. The former security guards were arrested last Sunday in connection with the May 30 disappearance of 18-year-old Natalee Holloway of Alabama.

By Aruban law, reports CBS News Correspondent Kelly Cobiella, someone is charged only when he or she is about to be tried. Prosecutors can hold suspects up to 116 days before charging them with a crime.

The judge will review the case again next Wednesday and every eight days after that until there is a final resolution, officials said. Authorities may hold the suspects for a total of 116 days without filing formal charges.

"They are accused of, first of all, murder. Conspiracy to commit murder homicide, conspiracy to commit homicide and capital kidnapping," attorney Chris Lejeuz, representing one of the suspects, said Wednesday on CBS News' The Early Show.

The other court-appointed defense attorney is Moraina Pietersz.

Both suspects, whom he initially represented, told Lejeuz "they've never seen Natalee Holloway, and they've never spoken to Natalee Holloway," he told co-anchor Hannah Storm.

Jones' wife, Cynthia De Graaf, said she and her husband were together continuously on May 29 and May 30, the day Holloway was last seen.

"He was home. He was even sick," De Graaf said, breaking down in tears as she waited outside the courthouse for the hearing to start. "They ruined everything. My daughter has been asking for her father."

Jones' mother, Cynthia Rosalie Jones, 64, added that the only way her son knew about Holloway was from seeing the news on television.

"They have my son there for something he knows nothing about," Jones said emphatically. "My son is innocent."

Authorities have not said Holloway was a victim of foul play, allowing the possibility of accidental death.

Meanwhile, police and the FBI kept up a search for Holloway, but a lack of any solid leads was hindering progress, according to several officers. Local officials asked the FBI to bring in dogs trained to search for people.

Investigators were scaling back their search for the 18-year-old, heading out only when they get a fresh tip. So far, they're focused on Aruba, but haven't ruled out going beyond its shores.

"The investigation will tell us when we need to go to the other islands to do the investigation," said police spokesman Edwin Commenencia.
  • Scott Benjamin

Comments