Aruba Pond Drained In Search Of Natalee - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/26/05

Aruba Pond Drained In Search Of Natalee

Police are draining a flood pond near a beach where two brothers say they dropped off Natalee Holloway and a judge's son on the day the missing Alabama teen disappeared.

Searchlights guided Aruban firefighters overnight as they pumped at least 3,600 gallons of water a minute, or two inches an hour. The pumping began about 9 p.m. Tuesday.  Authorities said Wednesday it will take about 24 hours to fully drain the catch basin.

The catch basin did not contain water when Holloway disappeared but filled with rain as Hurricane Emily brushed the island last week. After the basin is drained, authorities expect to dredge the bottom.

Two law enforcement sources close to the investigation say a local gardener gave them information about the pond that made them want to search it for Holloway's body.

The sources said the gardener gave a sworn statement to authorities last weekend. In it, he claims to have seen a car believed to belong to the Kalpoe brothers parked by the side of a road near the racquet club about 2:30 on the morning Holloway disappeared.

The pond is next to the racquet club and across the road from a beach where Deepak Kalpoe, 21, and his brother, Satish, 18, told police they drove Holloway, 18, and Joran van der Sloot, 17, after leaving a nightclub early May 30.

No one has been charged in Holloway's disappearance. Van der Sloot remains in jail in connection with the case. The Kalpoe brothers were released from jail but are still considered suspects.

The gardener maintains in his statement that he recognized the Kalpoe brothers and Van der Sloot sitting in the darkened car, the sources said.

Van der Sloot's mother has said her son told her he was on the beach with Holloway but left her there because she wanted to stay.

On Monday, Holloway's mother announced a reward of $1 million for her daughter's safe return.

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