This is the sad story of teenager Natalee Holloway. She is the eldest daughter born in Clinton, Mississippi. She grew up in a loving family until her loving parents decided to get a divorce. So, Natalee and her brother Mathew were solely raised by their mother. Until her mother got remarried to an Alabama businessman.
Natalee was a grade A student and was active in school. She was a member of a dance squad, national honor society and also participated in extracurricular activities in her school. Let’s continue to find out the real story how she went missing.
12. Graduation and Adventure Trip
Natalee graduated from Mountain Brook Alabama with honors so it is just fitting that she celebrate her milestone. This was the reward her parents gave her. Natalee and former schoolmates were set to go on a trip with her former schoolmates before separating schools and moving to their senior high school year.
On May 26, 2005, Natalee and her one hundred twenty-four schoolmates arrived in Aruba Island. It was a five-day vacation for all the graduates of Mountain Brook school. The group was accompanied by seven chaperones who usually meet the students every now to check on them and make sure they’re safe.
As Natalee and the students settled on the island of Aruba, they also prepared for a party. A lot of underage drinking and wild parties were to be anticipated. Aside from that, there was also a call room switching mixing the female and male students around. Natalee also drank every day as she stayed in Aruba.
Before they left, Natalee and her friends still had time to party. It was then, she met a young Dutch immigrant whose name is Joran Van Der Sloot. They connected immediately and they left the party with the Dutch man and his two Surinamese friends named Deepak Kalpoe and Satish Kalpoe.
11. Wrong Decision
Joran Van Der Sloot is the son of a well-known art teacher and a lawyer in Arnhem, Netherlands. They have just moved into Aruba in 1990. He was also an honor student and a star athlete when he studied in an International school in the place. His skills and brain automatically attracted Natalee as she is also an honor student herself.
On May 30, 2005, Natalee was seen by her schoolmates just outside the vicinity of Carlos’n Charlies at 1:30 am. She also rode in the car with the two friends of Joran. The following day, the chaperones and schoolmates of Natalee waited for her at the airport, but she didn’t appear. So, they immediately thought that she was missing.
The authorities of Aruba started to search immediately for Natalee. They checked the island as well as all surrounding places where Natalee could possibly stay. They also asked her classmates and schoolmates about her the night before she was lost.
After being told that Natalee was lost, her parents immediately flew to Aruba. After hearing the whole story, her mother decided that the last person that was with Natalee was Joran. When Joran was asked, he told that he just dropped Natalee off at a hotel at exactly 2:00 am. Aside from that, he also told the authority that she suddenly fell as she exited the car.
10. Potential Suspects
Joran told the authorities that he saw Natalee approaching a man wearing a black shirt while she was heading to the hotel. He immediately thought that it was a security guard to assist Natalee. So on June 5, police authorities of Aruban tracked down and detained Abraham Jones and Nick John who were the security on duty of the nearby hotel where Natalee was last seen.
The authorities also received some reports that the two detained security guards were also known to cruise hotels and pick up unsuspecting women. One of the guards was also involved in illegalities with the law. But still, the suspected men continued to offer solid alibis with the disappearance of Natalee. So they were released without any charges.
With newer leads, the police made an effort to re-open the investigation and link the involvement of Van der Sloot and his friends. They were all arrested for the murder and kidnapping assault of Natalee Holloway. This was a shock but they were still not in custody. The police could not provide strong evidence to detain the men so they still got back to square one.
Through their continuous investigation, the police officials found a 6th suspect named Steve Gregory Croes, a disc jockey. During the questioning, his name was mentioned by Kalpoe and Vander Sloot. Even if the police officials still suspected Van der Sloot, they had to further investigate different angles. The alibi of Croes was airtight. They also brought in the father of Van der Sloot in hopes of the solution to the case.
9. A Confession
The police decided to go back to their previous suspects. The story had just changed when the brothers Kalpoe turned in their friend. The witnesses also claimed that they remembered three men including the Kalpoes dropped Natalee and Van der Sloot at the beach of Marriott Hotel near the huts of the fishermen.
With conflicting stories, the police did not charge Joran and the brothers Kalope. But in November 2007, they were arrested with Joran van der Sloot who were imprisoned and deported back to Aruba where they were charged with the crime.
In February 2008, the Dutch media released a report proving that Joran van der Sloot became involved in the disappearance. The broadcast emphasized footage excerpts from microphones and cameras in Patrick van der Eem’s car. It was Van der Eem who had earned the trust of Joran. They then drove around and smoked marijuana.
According to Joran van der Sloot, he was with Natalee when she suddenly started shaking violently at the beach. After her convulsions, she became unresponsive where he had no choice but to revive her. Daury, his friend, told him of going back home after seeing Natalee’s body.
8. The Plot Thickens
Despite Joran van der Sloot’s confession, he was still not arrested for Natalee’s death. In March 2010, he called Beth Tweety offering her the true revelation of the body of Natalee Holloway. The deal involved giving up the location while Beth Tweety would pay for 250, 000 dollars.
Beth informed the FBI and arranged the entire transaction. In May, Beth transferred 15,000 dollars to his account in Netherlands. Van der Sloot was then charged on the 3rd of June in the U.S.D.C of Northern Alabama with wire fraud and extortion.
After flying to Aruba with the money sent by Beth, he first went to Peru. On the 30th day of May 2010, after Natalee’s disappearance, it was Stephany Flores who was reportedly missing in Peru, Lima. She was then found in a hotel room of Van der Sloot. His charges were twenty-eight years of imprisonment.
For almost twelve grueling years, the parents of Natalee once parted their ways in hopes of finding any possible piece of evidence about the case. They hoped to find leads in sea, air, and land just to search for Natalee’s remains. They also advocated about the safe travel practices of teens.
7. Pain and Healing
Dave Holloway, Natalee’s father already filed a petition claiming that his daughter was already legally dead. The judge finally discussed and ruled in favor of Dave. A 2nd hearing was then held on January 2012 where Natalee was already declared dead while her parents had to heal from the pain.
Natalee’s parents wrote two books about Natalee and their experiences in Aruba. You may consider those books as an outlet for their great grief and very sad story.
Joran van der Sloot, on the other hand, was imprisoned in Peru for the Flores murder since 2010. Then Beth Holloway made a decision to face the man that she knew to be her daughter’s killer. She later said that once she was able to see and speak to him, she was able to move on with her life, and find peace, joy, and happiness.
Natalee Holloway was a victim of an insane cold blooded murderer. Sadly, across the US there are many unsolved murder cases like this. Police and other law enforcement authorities do everything they can to expose these crimes and the criminals. Their work is not easy at all, but every time we are exposed to the incredible success of solving an old unsolved case we are left speechless. Like the similar story of Rachel Natacha Owens, written here to you for the first time.
6. The Rachel Natacha Owens Story
Rachel Owens was just any other 15-year-old with rebellious tendencies that drove her parents a little crazy. That is until she took it all way too far and suddenly disappeared. For years, her parents tirelessly searched for her until the search came to an end, five years after she disappeared. The result of the search was shocking just as her sudden disappearance.
At 15, Rachel was a strong-willed teen and knew exactly what she wanted to do, who she wanted to do it with, and couldn’t be convinced otherwise. Her stubbornness started to drive her to their limits, but they had no idea how much worse it would get.
One of the things Rachel liked to do was to skip school. It’s not that unusual since most teenagers do that at some point of their school life. But she started to push that simple act of rebellion further and further during her teenage years.
Despite being rebellious, Rachel was considered as a nice girl overall. She was kind-hearted, liked to help others, and cared for people. She wasn’t someone who would want to hurt other people. Unfortunately, having a kind heart isn’t always beneficial in this cruel world.
Troubles started when Rachel started taking her rebellious behavior to the next level. Instead of just skipping school and staying home, she’d stay out past her curfew, or even not come back until a day or two later, leaving her parents frightened of what to do with her.
And although Rachel was a rebel, she didn’t look like one. With eyeglasses and a warm smile, she never seemed to be someone who would want to disappear for good. The only visible sign of her adventurous nature was her hair, which she regularly dyes in different colors.
5. Average Teen
Like many other teens who end up missing and often meet a tragic end, Rachel was very much your average American student. She likes to be silly with her friends and goes to South Brunswick High School in Boiling Spring Lakes, North Carolina. However, there was no clue that she’d become a missing girl one day.
Rachel started to become more difficult in middle school. In 2010, she attended a middle school dance but didn’t come home afterward. It was a scary sign of things to come and the first time that Rachel was a missing girl, but certainly not the last.
Her parents were fortunate enough to find her later that night, but they weren’t very happy once they did. She was inside a green Honda Civic with the 21-year-old owner, Santos Pacheco-Sarmiento. Thankfully, she was unharmed, although the man had drugs in his car.
Rachel’s parents would be worried to learn that her first disappearance was only the beginning of a pattern that would emerge over the next few year. During that time, Rachel would regularly run away from home, though she was never gone long.
Of course, Rachel’s parents, Kenneth and Kathy Owens, weren’t going to give up on their daughter. They figured that it was just a stage, along with her difficult attitude. Like all stages, they believed it would soon pass, hopefully.
The school year at South Brunswick High School was almost over and this was the day when her life, and those of her family members, would change forever. It was the day that she was dropped off at school, but not only didn’t go to class but also didn’t come home.
4. Search and Investigation
Unsurprisingly, Rachel managed to get out of the school bus and take off before going in the school doors. A school’s surveillance camera verified that she was seen getting into a car in a parking lot next to the school. It was May 5, 2011, a day that her parents and family would never forget.
Because of the nature of her disappearance, it was immediately thought that Rachel would be found with someone that she already knew. After all, someone was waiting for her to get into the car near her school’s parking lot. It also showed that her leaving was planned ahead of time. Then the police immediately thought of Santos Pacheco-Sarmiento.
Unfortunately, the police didn’t get anywhere with their first suspect. The car that Rachel was seen getting into was a small, dark-colored vehicle. With Pacheco-Sarmiento crossed off the list and Rachel still a missing girl, nobody knew just how long the search would go on.
Although Rachel had gone missing before, there was something about this time that was different. She would never be gone for long, especially without communicating with her family. As time passed and they failed to receive a single call or text message from their daughter, the Owens started to realize that something greater was missing.
With no real leads for the whereabouts of Rachel Owens, a reward of $5,000 was put into place to help find more information about where she might be. The thinking was that with a cash offer in place, a friend who may be covering for her would be more motivated to give her parents or the authorities some information.
The search became a national one, but a lot of the efforts were focused throughout North and South Carolina. In fact, the vehicle that Rachel disappeared to had South Carolina plates. Members of the community grouped together to help with the search efforts, hoping that they would eventually find Rachel alive.
3. FBI, Mexico and Dead Ends
Everyone knew that the search had become serious when the FBI became involved. Although everyone was hopeful that the FBI’s involvement would turn up some leads, it also meant that the case had taken a serious turn and that Rachel may be in grave danger.
Police became even more concerned when details came about regarding Rachel’s desire to run to Mexico. Rachel had even written a story in the weeks before her disappearance describing her escape off to Mexico. When asked, her friends confirmed that it seemed like something she would have done.
It seemed like there was more mystery to this missing girl than what her parents knew. Her friends say she used to pretend to be Hispanic and call herself “Raquel” from time to time. She was also able to pass herself as an adult because of her mature looks, shared her sister, Rebekah. She would use that ability to sneak into clubs and bars at times.
Rachel’s parents were completely concerned. As the days and weeks passed, they went through her diary for clues, talked to her friends again and again, and tried whatever they could to uncover a lead about where she might be. But nothing turned up.
Rachel’s loved ones were hopeful that the publicity from the case would help someone recognize her and contact the authorities. With people sharing her information on social media and posters all over the region, it seemed that someone would have to eventually recognize the missing girl.
The FBI has all the expertise in the world when it comes to dealing with these types of disappearances, yet they couldn’t even get a clue of Rachel’s whereabouts. Even with a description of the car and the ability to check through the missing girl’s cell phone records, nothing turned up that they could use.
2. Light at the End of the Tunnel
Weeks turned into months, and Rachel still hadn’t been found. No promising leads had also turned up. Privately, many involved in the investigation started to doubt if she would ever be seen alive again. Publicly, her family continued to beg for her to come home. They had sleepless nights as they hoped for their daughter’s return.
This went on and on for five years. Rachel disappeared before she even earned her first driving license, and now she would be 21 years old if she was even alive. Her parents had not given up hope, but many people believed that the missing girl would never be seen again.
The Owens never gave up on the hope that they would see their daughter again. As the years passed, they would even continue to hang up a stocking for the missing girl in the hopes that she would turn up again as some Christmas miracle. Sadly, it didn’t happen.
Investigators spent years tracking down even the most improbable leads, while teams of searchers explored the woods, ditches, and ravines, hoping they wouldn’t find a lifeless body. Then, evidence came about that the missing girl may not only be alive but is living in Ohio.
The FBI had received a tip that someone matching Rachel’s description had been spotted in Columbus, Ohio. Still, they weren’t able to locate her right away. It would be another six months before the next break in the case. The FBI offered a reward to speed up the process.
Sure enough, it was Rachel who was found. It was over five years after she skipped out on school, got into a car and never came back. She opened her door in Ohio to find an FBI agent on her doorstep. Then, she knew that she had to come clean. She admitted that she was Rachel Owens, the missing girl from all those years.
1. Questions and Answers
The investigators told Rachel’s parents that they suspected that she was alive and living in Ohio, but it only led to more questions. It seems that the missing girl had actually created a new identity and have been living on her own. But why?
Rachel was willing to reunite with her family, who were as confused as you might expect. However, she was not confessing about the circumstances of her disappearance or why she remained in hiding for five years. Understandably, her family wanted answers.
The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office had determined no foul play had been involved in Rachel’s disappearance. For the time being, her family was just relieved that Rachel was alive and safe. After all, not all who go missing survive or are even found.
In the time following Rachel’s discovery in Ohio, her parents have only had a short phone conversation with her so far. They have also received a recent photo of her, but they have not yet reunited. The situation made many wonder whether all was well with Rachel for the many years that she was away from home.
Rachel’s sister has a lot of questions for Rachel, obviously. Like how was she able to survive on her own after leaving with no resources, job training, or ability to make a living at just 15. Still, she is just happy for now that her sister has been found, while her mother has chosen not to comment yet.
In the photo above, Rachel Owens is seen as she looks today. Her story appears to have had a happy ending, although no details have been given yet on why she disappeared in the first place and chose not to reveal her whereabouts. In most cases, a missing girl who is gone for as long as she was is in serious danger from human traffickers, abusers, murderers, and other threats. While her family has a lot of unanswered questions, the fact that she’s alive is a victory for her family.