Buscan en Aruba a joven extraviada

ORANJESTAD, Aruba – The government called on thousands of civil servants and tourists to join in a massive islandwide search Monday for a missing Alabama teenager, while police, soldiers and FBI agents combed scrubland and beaches.
The announcement came a day after police charged two men in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, 18, of Mountain Brook, Ala. The honors student vanished May 30 during a five-day trip to Aruba with more than 100 other classmates celebrating their high school graduation.
The Dutch Caribbean island’s government asked most of the 4,000 public employees to meet at a sports stadium in the central community of Santa Cruz at 2 p.m. EDT to be briefed on «a systematic search,» police commander Trudy Hassell said.
«We hope there will be thousands,» Hassell said in the capital, Oranjestad. «This effort is a national effort. We feel with the family.»
Authorities also asked the FBI to send a dive team to search waters with rough currents.
Two security guards from a hotel near where Holloway was staying were arrested Sunday. Aruban police in unmarked cars accompanied by FBI agents arrested the suspects, ages 30 and 28, during a pre-dawn raid.
An AP photographer watched as the rumpled men — one from the De Vuiyst housing project for poorer islanders and another from an average home in southeast San Nicolas — emerged without resistance, hands cuffed behind their backs.
Police searched the homes and emerged with what looked like a metal safe deposit box and a garbage bag of clothing.
Attorney General Caren Janssen declined to release the specific charges, saying the case would go before a judge within 48 hours to determine whether the men can be legally held. She said authorities had not found any of Holloway’s belongings at the suspects’ homes.
«The charges have a relationship with the disappearance,» Janssen said. «There is a reasonable suspicion they may be involved.»
Authorities impounded three vehicles found at the two homes, and a team of more than a dozen FBI agents helping with the investigation will help perform forensic testing, police said.
Police spokesman Edwin Comemencia said authorities had not ruled out the possibility that other people were involved. The two men in custody were not among three others described Saturday by police as «persons of interest.»
Janssen declined to comment on whether there was a relationship between the two men in custody and the three others, described as students, who told police they dropped Holloway off at the hotel where she was staying on May 30 at about 2 a.m. Holiday Inn employees, however, say security cameras did not record her entry.
«We hope she’s alive,» police commissioner Jan van der Straaten said. «Every day I see the light at the end of the tunnel.»
At least 70 people showed up for a prayer vigil Sunday evening at California Lighthouse on Aruba’s gusty northwest point. They sang a hymn and listened to a brief sermon by the Rev. Larry Waymire.
«This is a trying time, not only for Aruba but for the world as a whole,» Waymire said during the 10-minute ceremony. «This has touched the lives of millions of people around the world.»
The lighthouse, built in the early 20th century, overlooks a dive site and one of the beaches Holloway reportedly visited on this island of 72,000 people.
Hundreds of Arubans and American residents and tourists have joined the search, upset that Holloway’s disappearance could mar the image of this tranquil island. About 500,000 Americans visited Aruba last year.
Holloway, a 5-foot-4-inch blonde, spent her last night at a beach concert featuring Boyz II Men and Lauryn Hill at Surfside beach in southern Aruba, Tourism Minister Edison Briesen said.
She then ate and danced at Carlos ‘N Charlie’s bar and restaurant. She did not show up for her return flight hours later, and police found her passport in her hotel room with her packed bags.
The Aruban government and local tourism organizations have offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to Holloway’s return. Her family and benefactors in Alabama have offered another $30,000.
Holloway’s disappearance has shaken a sense of safety many Arubans took for granted. 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 premed, Reynolds said.
Many feared the worst when authorities said they found a blood-soaked mattress at a beach in eastern Aruba on Sunday, but it turned out to be animal blood.

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