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Dutch search yard for Holloway’s body

By Margaret Wever
Associated Press Writer

ORANJESTAD, Aruba — Dutch police and forensic investigators searched the yard of a one-time suspect in the disappearance of U.S. teenager Natalee Holloway for the second consecutive day Saturday.

About 20 detectives and experts from the Netherlands Forensic Institute, an agency of the Dutch Justice Ministry, used metal rods and shovels to probe the yard outside the home of Joran van der Sloot, who was the last person known to have seen the missing American girl.

Authorities were also seen bringing dogs, a jackhammer and other supplies into the walled property in a middle-class neighborhood just outside the island’s capital of Oranjestad. The Dutch investigators did not speak to reporters.

On Friday, Vivian van der Biezen, a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office, said investigators also searched the van der Sloot home. She did not respond to repeated calls Saturday.

In a brief written statement issued Friday, the prosecutors’ office said: “The team has indications that justify a more thorough search.”

Holloway, an 18-year-old from Mountain Brook vanished in the early hours of May 30, 2005, the last day of a five-day vacation to celebrate her high school graduation with 124 other students.

She was seen leaving a bar with van der Sloot, then 17, and two Surinamese brothers. The brothers, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe, were jailed and later released after a judge ruled there was not enough evidence to hold them.

Van der Sloot, a Dutch citizen who has been attending college in the Netherlands, was jailed for about three months.

He has said he left Holloway alone on a beach after they kissed and he did not harm her.

Reached Saturday, Paulus van der Sloot, the suspect’s father, said he did not wish to make any comment.

At least 10 people have been arrested and released without charges. Hundreds more have been questioned.

The Dutch marines, the local coast guard, the FBI, hundreds of volunteers and others have scoured the island’s dunes, beaches and trash dumps for Holloway. Scuba divers and sonar-equipped coast guard ships have also examined the seabed.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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