What Happened To Natalee Holloway's Parents?

It's every parent's worst nightmare. In 2005, 18-year-old Natalee Holloway, daughter of Dave and Beth Holloway, had the opportunity of a lifetime: To travel to Aruba with friends on a senior class trip. While there, the Alabama teen disappeared, last seen in a car with three males, among them Joran van der Sloot. With Natalie missing, Dave and Beth — who divorced before Natalee disappeared — did what any parent would do: They searched for information regarding their daughter and tried to bring the person responsible for her probable death to justice. 

The family hired a private investigator, Tim Miller, who searched for Natalee in Arbua, sometimes with Dave by his side, E! News reported. "My goal has always been to find my daughter," Dave said, per NBC News. "That's been my ultimate goal, from day one." Beth added: "Not knowing is — is — that's the daily torture."

In October 2023, Joran van der Sloot finally admitted to killing Natalie, though her remains were never found, per CNN. "It's over," Beth said of the confession. "Joran van der Sloot is no longer the suspect in my daughter's murder. He is the killer." In a statement, Dave added (per WVTM 13): "What I have come to realize is the impossibility of having what this man took from us restored, and over time I have found some level of peace and acceptance of that reality. ... Today and every day, please hug your children in honor and loving memory of our daughter, Natalee Ann Holloway."

Beth tried to buy info from the killer

In 2010, Joran van der Sloot was arrested and charged with the 2010 murder of Stephany Flores, which investigators linked to Natalee's disappearance. That same year, Beth Holloway reportedly traveled to the South American country to covertly meet with him in a Peruvian prison in hopes of gathering information regarding her daughter. At that point, her attorney had already paid van der Sloot $25,000 for information related to Natalee Holloway's whereabouts, per ABC News. But the details turned out to be false, and in 2012, a U.S. federal grand jury charged him with fraud and extortion, NBC News reported.

In 2012, van der Sloot was sentenced to 28 years in prison for killing Flores. When news broke in May 2023 that he would be extradited from Peru to the U.S. to face the extortion and fraud charges, Beth noted that at that point her daughter had been gone for as long as the teen had been alive. In June 2023, van der Sloot was extradited and pleaded not guilty to extortion and fraud. In October 2023, he did an about-face and pleaded guilty, per WAVY-TV.

Her parents disagreed on declaring her legally dead

In 2011, Natalee's father, Dave, asked a judge in Alabama to declare his daughter dead, a move which reportedly surprised Beth, as ABC News reported. Beth said at the time, "I had no idea Dave was filing this petition. I only learned about this when I was handed the citation by a process server while addressing a large audience at a conference in Georgia. I don't know what this is about, or why Dave is taking this action at this time." The next year, an Alabama judge declared Natalee legally dead.

Beth was not happy with the decision. "Natalee's father wanted to see this through, and of course it makes me very sad," she told reporters after the decision, per CNN. Meanwhile, Dave seemed relieved. "We've been dealing with this death for the last six and a half years," he told reporters. "Hopefully, this meeting today will (provide) some closure."

Natalee Holloway's mother sued TV show producers

In the 2017 Oxygen-produced documentary series "The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway," Beth Holloway was asked to provide DNA samples to potentially match with remains the series producers said they found. Beth later filed a lawsuit in Alabama alleging that series' producers knew the bone fragments were not Natalee's. 

According to Beth's suit, the show exposed her to "agonizing weeks" of uncertainty. She asked for $35 million in damages, according to the AP. Holloway's attorney, Taylor Wilson, told Courthouse News Service, "There are constitutional limits to the media's right to entertain and what families must endure in these situations, and that that constitutional line was crossed here."

As reported by USA Today, Oxygen defended the series, saying, "We had hoped, along with Mr. Holloway, that the information was going to provide closure. We cannot comment further on ongoing litigation." Dave Holloway (above) participated in the NBC Universal documentary. He reportedly asked Beth for a DNA sample but was not listed as a defendant in Beth's litigation. As of 2023, the lawsuit has yet to be settled.