By People Staff
June 20, 2005 12:00 PM

In the mad scramble of another wild night, no one missed Natalee Holloway. Her friends saw her talking to a man outside a crowded nightclub in Aruba around 1 a.m. May 30 and figured if they didn’t see her later she had gone to party someplace else. “She said she was okay and that she would be coming,” says her friend Alana Jordan. “But she didn’t look like herself.”

Holloway, 18, has not been seen since. On a five-day trip with 124 high school seniors and seven adult chaper-ones from Mountain Brook, Ala., Holloway failed to show up for the plane ride home May 30. By late Tuesday, Aruban officials had arrested but not charged two former security guards, saying only there is reasonable suspicion they were involved in Holloway’s disappearance. The Aruban government also declared a half-day holiday on June 6 so that 500 civil servants could join police and FBI agents in the massive hunt for Holloway. “We’re just receiving tremendous amounts of support,” says Holloway’s uncle Paul Reynolds, I who has been in Aruba since June 1. “It keeps us going.”

A straight-A student with a full scholarship to the University of Alabama, Holloway left the nightclub Carlos ‘n Charlie’s and got in a car with three local men. The men claimed they spent 30 minutes with Holloway before dropping her off at her hotel at 1:30 a.m. (police interviewed and released all three). Rhonda Jordan, 43, whose daughter took the trip, feels that Aruba’s reputation as a virtually crime-free resort “made people let their guard down. None of the children knew there was anything bad down there.”

Still, Holloway’s loved ones have not given up hope and are bolstered by the outpouring of support from island residents and government officials. “Natalee’s just one person in this world, but for some reason she has reached many, many people,” says her uncle Paul. “We are determined to find her.”