Alabama woman declared legally dead, case remains unsolved

Natalee Holloway, the young Alabama woman who went missing during a high school graduation trip to Aruba back in 2005, was declared legally dead by an Alabama judge on Thursday. As our readers may already know, Holloway was last seen leaving a bar with a 24-year-old Dutch man on the morning of May 30, 2005. Her body was never found, and the Dutch man-who became a prime suspect in the case has not received any charges.

Thursday's declaration brings a close to at least one part of the tragic incident. Holloway's father had sought the declaration of death so that he could cease payments on her medical insurance and use the college fund money to assist her younger brother. He and his wife are reportedly divorced.

The Holloway family and other had criticized the way Aruban officials had handled the case. Sources said that authorities in that country began working on the case under the assumption that they were dealing with a homicide, whereas the family initially held out hope that they would find the young woman.

After numerous searches failed to locate the young woman, Aruban closed the case near the end of 2007. The case was reopened in February 2008, though, when prosecutors became aware of a video showing the Dutch suspect under the influence of marijuana, discussing Holloway's death on the morning of May 30, 2005, and that he had disposed of her body. He later said that what he said in the video was untrue.

Although the Dutch man has not been charged with murder in connection to the Holloway case, he has been charged with extortion and wire fraud for $25,000. Those charges are related to a promise to relate the location of the young woman's body to her mother in exchange for $25,000.

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