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Aruba Boy's Parents: He's Innocent

Missing student Natalee Holloway with hands bound by handcuffs
AP / CBS
The parents of a Dutch youth held in the disappearance of an Alabama teen said Wednesday they believe he is innocent, adding that they don't know how to deal with this "big nightmare."

Paul van der Sloot, a judicial official whose 17-year-old son has been arrested in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, offered his first public statements since Holloway vanished three weeks ago, saying in a broadcast interview: "I still believe my son. It's all very hard."

Joran van der Sloot and two friends were arrested 10 days after Holloway, 18, went missing on May 30. Police say Joran van der Sloot met Holloway at a casino two days earlier. They say the three young men testified that they took her from a popular restaurant to a beach, where the Dutch boy and Holloway were kissing in the back of the car, then dropped her at the Holiday Inn where she was staying around 2 a.m.

Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway Twitty, has insisted that the three know what happened to her daughter and that police should press them harder to tell the truth. She has asked why the three were initially released after only a couple of hours of questioning, and arrested more than a week later.

In the Fox News interview, Anita van der Sloot, the Dutch teen's mother, said: "Joran should have been interrogated from the beginning. But they let the kids go."

Meanwhile, Natalee's family personally continues the search for the missing Alabama high school student.

"It's funny that we talk about how small this island is and yet so large when you are looking for one individual," aunt Linda Allison told CBS News Correspondent Kelly Cobiella.

The family searches a different part of Aruba every day, using the most basic tools.