Juez confirmó dos detenciones por estudiante desaparecida en Aruba

ORANJESTAD, Aruba – A judge ruled Wednesday there was sufficient cause to hold two former security guards suspected in the disappearance of an Alabama teenager.
The decision means that authorities may hold Nick John, 30, and Abraham Jones, 28, for nearly four months, while prosecutors investigate possible murder and kidnapping charges in the disappearance of 18-year-old Natalee Holloway, defense attorneys said.
Holloway, of Mountain Brook, Ala., vanished May 30 while on a five-day trip with more than 100 classmates celebrating their high school graduation on this Dutch Caribbean island.
Police and the FBI kept up their search for the honors student but said a lack of any solid leads was hindering progress. Local officials have asked the FBI to bring in dogs trained to search for people.
The two men were arrested Sunday on suspicion of first- and second-degree murder and capital kidnapping, the latter of which is invoked when kidnapping victim is killed, according to court-appointed defense attorneys, Noraina Pietersz and Chris Lejuez.
Under Aruban law, only serious suspicions from investigators — not solid evidence — are needed for a judge to rule that the suspects can continue to be held, Pietersz said.
Judge J.S. Kuiperdal will review the case again June 15 and every eight days after that if needed, officials said. Authorities may hold the suspects for a total of 116 days without filing formal charges.
Aruba Attorney General Caren Janssen confirmed the judge’s decision in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
Lejuez has said the suspects, who were officially identified for the first time Wednesday, deny any connection to Holloway. Both men are Aruban citizens, although one is originally from Grenada, Lejuez said.
The hearing took place at a police station where the men are jailed, outside the capital of Oranjestad.
Jones’ common-law 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 and have not ruled out any possibilities, including that Holloway may have drowned, Aruba Attorney General Caren Janssen said Tuesday. Two divers among the eight FBI agents in Aruba have been searching the waters surrounding the island, police spokesman Edwin Comemencia said.
The young woman’s parents continued to hold out hope that she was still alive and Lejuez said he had seen nothing to indicate she wasn’t.
«I haven’t seen any proof she is not alive,» Lejuez said Wednesday, adding that regarding his clients, «In my opinion, there is no evidence whatsoever that they are involved in the disappearance of Natalee.»
The two men in custody were security guards at a hotel two blocks from the Holiday Inn where Holloway was staying. Their work contracts expired the day before she disappeared, a police officer told The Associated Press.
Investigators searched the suspects’ homes and impounded three vehicles, carrying away bags of items, but said they had not found any of Holloway’s belongings.
Authorities have declined to comment whether the suspects had a relationship with the three other men, earlier described as students — two Surinamese and a native of the Netherlands — who told police they dropped off Holloway at her hotel around 2 a.m. on May 30. Hotel employees, however, say that security cameras did not record her return.
The night she disappeared, Holloway went to a beach concert and 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.
Seven chaperones had accompanied the students on the trip.
It was not clear if Holloway had been drinking the night of her disappearance, though her relatives say she does not party much, is achievement-oriented and a straight-A student who had earned a full scholarship to study a premedical course at the University of Alabama.
The Aruba government and local tourism organizations have offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to Holloway’s rescue. Her family and benefactors in Alabama have offered $30,000 in addition.

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