Natalee Hollway’s father has provided more information about how he discovered human remains in Aruba that may belong to his daughter.
And CrimeOnline has spoken to the tipster who said the discovery never would have happened without him.
Earlier this week, Dave Holloway and private investigator T.J. Ward made the bombshell announcement on the Today show: A set of remains has been found on the property of a home in Aruba, where Holloway was celebrating her high school graduation on a trip with girlfriends in 2005. She was seen leaving a bar with Joran van der Sloot, who remains a person of interest in her disappearance and presumed murder, but has not been charged in connection to her death. He was convicted of murdering another young woman, Stephany Flores Ramírez, who died on the five-year anniversary of Natalee’s disappearance.
Mr. Holloway and Ward said on the Today show that the remains have been confirmed as human, but further DNA testing is required to determine if they belong to Natalee.
On Thursday, Dave Holloway spoke to Fox News about the waiting game, twelve years after Natalee first disappeared.
“We’ve chased a lot of leads and you have your hopes up, but when they fall through, you basically go to a funeral. Over and over again. So you have a wall built up, which I do, and so you just wait and see and try not to think about it. And that’s the only way I can cope with it. I’m sure when that day comes very soon I’ll probably be disappointed once again, if it’s not [Natalee’s].”
Holloway told Fox News that a tipster by the name of Gabriel led him and Ward to the remains. He said that Gabriel called him to tell him that he had befriended a man, John Ludwick, who was a friend of van der Sloot’s. Ludwick reportedly told Gabriel that van der Sloot claimed Natalee died choking on her own vomit after he slipped her the date rape drug GHB, and that he showed John where her body was buried.
“He said, ‘Look, I’ve been in contact with someone who’s apparently directly involved in the disappearance of your daughter,’” Mr. Holloway told Fox. “I have two daughters of my own and I know that if something happened to them, I’d hope I get the same kind of response… I already called the FBI, they didn’t return my calls. I called [Natalee’s mother] Beth, she hasn’t returned my call. And now I’ve called you. Just give me five minutes of your time and I’ll tell you all that I know.’
“And he did… I asked T.J. to look into this and get more information and determine whether or not we should pursue it. Because we pursued a lot of leads and they ended up nowhere. So that’s what he did. He met up with Gabriel, interviewed him, and told me, ‘Dave, this guy knows enough. We’ve got to pursue this until the end.’”
CrimeOnline spoke to Gabriel, who shared a similar account, but with some variation. Gabriel told us that he objects to the term “informant,” as Holloway and Ward have described him, explaining that it implies he shared this information in exchange for something. But Gabriel says he just wanted to help find Natalee, and that he was never in it for money. In fact, he claims he output a great deal of personal expense to gain John’s trust and to fly to Aruba to seek out the remains.
After becoming acquainted with John through visits to a racetrack in Florida, and realizing the he may have had information about Natalee, Gabriel says, “I became his best friend even though I didn’t like him.”
He says John led him to the remains in April, and that he alone alerted Dave Holloway and law enforcement about the discovery.
Gabriel is involved with the upcoming Oxygen docuseries The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway, which premieres this weekend. Because of his reported non-disclosure agreement, Gabriel could only share limited details about the discovery of the remains, and questions remain about the chain of custody and the role of local law enforcement. A representative from Oxygen declined to comment.
Holloway told Fox News that local law enforcement did not act immediately after learning of the possible human remains.
“We haven’t heard a word. … You have to go back to 2005… [Back then], I figure, these are police, they know what they’re talking about… Their direction in how they operate is [that] there’s no sense of urgency. So I’m just wondering if we’re dealing with the same thing right now.”
It will likely be at least a few more weeks before the DNA tests are complete.
“If it is Natalee, then that’s the end for me and my family,” Dave told Fox News.
“I mean, that’s the end. We finally found out what happened and it’s resolved.”