Natalee Holloway's Mom Beth Returns to Aruba for '20/20' Special, 14 Years After Teen Vanished
Beth Holloway has been living with a broken heart for 14 years.
The disappearance of her 18-year-old daughter, Natalee, became an international story, complete with papparazzi and a handsome suspect who went on to murder a young woman in Peru and now sits in prison.
Whatever happened to Natalee, and to her remains, are unanswered questions. But for the first time since she went to look for her daughter, Beth has returned to the vacation island of Aruba, where Natalee vanished while on a high school trip.
"This place doesn't control me anymore," she told ABC's news magazine "20/20," in a segment airing Friday evening.
"So 14 years later, Aruba has become a lot less significant to me," said the Alabama woman.
Natalee was last seen on May 30, 2005, leaving a bar called Carlos'n Charlie's on the Dutch island and getting into a gray Honda with Joran vander Sloot, who was 17 at the time, and two of his friends, who were brothers.
Van der Sloot, now 32, is serving a 28-year prison sentence in Peru, where he beat and killed Stephany Flores, a university student and daughter of a presidential candidate, in his hotel room in Lima. Her battered body was found five years to the day after Natalee disappeared.
“He's a monster. I know that he was responsible for the demise of Natalee. And I'll never, never not believe that," Beth told the "20/20" interviewer.
After Natalee vanished, Beth hurried to the island to help search efforts. She met van der Sloot and his parents. "I thought, 'You're it,''' when she met the teen. "Did I know what was to come? No. But I knew that I was gonna hang onto him 'till my last breath.'''
What followed was a wrenching series of ups-and-downs, with van der Sloot giving conflicting details about the time he spent with Natalee and neither him, nor his friends, ever being charged in connection with her disappearance.
In media interviews, van der Sloot said he had left Natalee sitting on a beach and in another, he told Greta Van Susteren in 2008 he had sold Natalee into sexual slavery. Soon after, he called the television journalist and said his story was made up.
He has also claimed he had nothing to do with Natalee's disappearance.
Beth eventually paid the teen $25,000 for information about where her daughter's remains could be found. Not longer after, van der Sloot fled Aruba and ended up in Peru.
After his arrest in Flores' death, FBI authorities told Beth there was not enough evidence from the Peru murder to link van der Sloot to Natalee's disappearance.
She went to Peru to visit him in prison, she said. She begged him to tell her where Natalee's remains were, so she could bring them home to Alabama.
“I’ve had a lot of time here to really think. I really do want to write you. I need some time to think about what I want to say,” he told her, Beth said.
She still doesn't know the location of her daughter's body.
In 2012, van der Sloot pleaded guilty to murdering Flores. He will be extradited to the U.S. on an extortion charge after he completes his 28-year sentence, officials said.
"Is it the justice I wanted?" Beth told the news magazine. "No. But it's the justice I'll take."
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