AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – A former suspect in the disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway threw wine in the face of a crime reporter after they appeared together on a Dutch television program.
Joran van der Sloot appeared on the late-night talk show Friday in what was billed as his last television interview about the case. Prosecutors in Aruba, where Holloway vanished, have said they don’t have enough evidence to charge him with a crime, although he remains a “person of interest” in what is now a cold case.
Van der Sloot, who denies any wrongdoing, appeared relaxed throughout the TV appearance, despite remarks from crime reporter Peter R. De Vries challenging his honesty. At the end of the Pauw & Witteman program Van der Sloot and De Vries had a testy exchange about whether De Vries would apologize if evidence exonerating Van der Sloot came to light.
The live show ended, but NOS radio news reported Saturday that moments later, Van der Sloot threw a glass of wine in De Vries’ face. Photos taken by members of the studio audience and circulating on Dutch Web sites show Van Der Sloot throwing the wine.
“This says something about Joran, of course,” De Vries said in an interview with NOS radio broadcast Saturday. “He doesn’t have complete control over his behaviour.”
Holloway went missing on May 30, 2005, hours before she was to return home to Mountain Brook, Ala. She was on the final night of her school graduation trip to the island. Van der Sloot and two other former suspects, brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe, were seen leaving a bar with Holloway on the night of her disappearance.
They were questioned early in the investigation and again late last year before being released. All three deny involvement in Holloway’s disappearance.
Prosecutors now say they cannot prove a crime was committed without a body, but that they believe Holloway is dead.
Extensive searches of the island turned up no trace of Holloway, who was 18 at the time of her disappearance.
Authorities in Aruba say the case against the three could be reopened if additional evidence surfaces. But if they were to go to trial now with virtually no hope of guilty verdicts, they would lose the opportunity to try them later if strong evidence emerges.
Show host Paul Witteman said Joran’s action was “incomprehensible and incredibly stupid” because it undermines his credibility.