In a remarkable turn in the case of missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway, Judge Paul van der Sloot – father of 17-year-old Joran van der Sloot, one of four people being held in the case – was arrested on Thursday on the island of Aruba.
Mariaine Croes, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor, tells CNN: “There is a reasonable suspicion that he knows something and is involved in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway.” She said whether he was a participant in an alleged crime “is something that will need to be investigated.”
Authorities had previously talked to Paul van der Sloot as a witness. He is now being held as a suspect.
Meanwhile, Joran van der Sloot’s mother, Anita, told the Associated Press that her son had changed his story, admitting to her that he was alone with Holloway on a beach the night she vanished. Joran, however, insisted that he did not hurt her.
On June 21, while handing out prayer cards, Holloway’s mother, Beth Twitty, saw Paul van der Sloot outside his home and called out to him. Invited inside, she spent 90 minutes pressing him for information and left convinced that he is holding something back, PEOPLE reports.
“It was just a personal conversation, but when I have a conversation, I usually have a goal in mind,” she told PEOPLE. “He gave me confirmation of my feeling that there is additional information that needs to be investigated in regard to my daughter’s kidnapping.”
Holloway, an 18-year-old honors student from Mountain Brook, Ala., was in Aruba with about 100 classmates to celebrate their high school graduation. She was last seen near her hotel on May 30.
Besides Paul van der Sloot, those in custody (none of whom have been charged) are his son, Joran; Deepak Kalpoe, 21, and his brother Satish, 19; and Steve Gregory Croes, a 26-year-old disc jockey.
Holloway’s mother has said she believes that her daughter’s disappearance is somehow linked to Joran van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers. Twitty told NBC that the three friends know the “what and who and where and when and why and how” of her daughter’s disappearance.