SINT NICOLAAS, Aruba – All three suspects in the disappearance of an Alabama teenager were released from jail Saturday in a setback for the prosecution and the biggest blow yet to Natalee Holloway’s family.
Joran van der Sloot, an 18-year-old Dutchman, and two Surinamese brothers, Satish Kalpoe, 18, and Deepak Kalpoe, 21, were released on condition they remain in Dutch territory and be available to police for questioning.
The Kalpoe brothers emerged from prison dressed in jeans, carrying black plastic bags and accompanied by their lawyers.
“It’s a happy day for the Kalpoe family,” said David Kock, an attorney for Satish.
At his home later, Van der Sloot came out smiling, flung an arm around his father’s neck and squeezed his mother’s shoulder. He did not address reporters.
“We would like to express our happiness to have Joran back in our lives,” said his mother, Anita. “His life has been turned upside down.”
She said her family had been the victim of “slander based on rumor and gossip. It is easy to destroy the lives of people, especially through the press.”
Van der Sloot’s lawyer, Richie Kock, said the teenager would soon be going to university in Holland: “Joran will be trusted to be on his own in Holland and to do as he pleases,” he said.
As a Dutch citizen, van der Sloot is allowed to leave Aruba but must remain in Dutch territory, said Richie Kock. The Surinamese brothers must remain on the island because they have different visa requirements for traveling to other Dutch territories, said David Kock.
The missing teen’s mother, Beth Holloway Twitty, renewed her criticism of the investigation.
“If the investigation had been handled properly during the first 10 days, the world would not have witnessed and experienced the pain and suffering my family and I have endured,” Holloway Twitty said.
The Holloway family has insisted that all three young men know what happened to the Alabama honors student, who vanished May 30 on the last day of a vacation to celebrate her high school graduation.
Despite Saturday’s releases, police insist the investigation into Holloway’s widely publicized disappearance will continue, but legal observers in Aruba say the release indicates the government has no case.
Van der Sloot and the brothers were arrested June 9 on suspicion of involvement in Holloway’s disappearance. All three have denied any connection to the disappearance.
Holloway was last seen leaving a bar with van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers.