After more than six years with no sign of her body or evidence of her being alive, Alabama judge Alan King declared Natalee Holloway dead Thursday.
The death declaration falls on the day after the prime suspect in her disappearance, Joran van der Sloot, pleaded guilty to murdering a Peruvian woman in 2010. The Dutch man has insisted he was not involved in Holloway's disappearance.
Thursday’s hearing to legally declare Natalee, who vanished on the Caribbean island of Aruba in 2005, dead provides the family with a death certificate.
In Session’s Jean Casarez spoke with an attorney for Natalee’s father, Dave Holloway, who says he filed the petition not only to achieve closure, but for the practical reason of resolving Natalee’s estate. She’s still listed as a participant and beneficiary on his health insurance and has a small college fund in her name.
Casarez also spoke with an attorney representing Natalee’s mother, Beth Holloway, who told her that Beth has opposed the declaration in the past based on a mother’s love for her child and holding onto that glimmer of hope that she is still alive. There also is no evidence showing Natalee is, in fact, deceased. Holloway is also working hard with groups and families who have missing children and feels she is letting them down to agree to have her own daughter declared dead. During the hearing Thursday, though, Holloway made no objections to the petition to have her daughter declared dead.