Natalee Holloway Case: Target in Undercover Sting Says Her Bones Were Mixed with a Dog's and Cremated for $200
A missing Alabama teen’s dug-up skeletal remains were mixed with those of a dead dog in an effort to disguise their origin, then taken to a crematory where a man paid $200 to burn them so the ashes could be scattered off the coast of Aruba, according to the Oxygen series The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway.
The third installment of the six-part series, which aired Saturday, offers that detail along with still another twist in the mystery as Dave Holloway draws closer to learning what happened to his daughter, who went missing on the island in 2005.
Joran van der Sloot, the longtime suspect in Natalee’s disappearance, allegedly had sexual relations with the man who says he allegedly accepted $1,500 from Van der Sloot to dig up Natalee’s remains, according to that man’s account during a recorded undercover sting operation in the case, the episode reveals.
That February 2016 sting was set up by Holloway and his private investigator, T.J. Ward. It relied on an informant named Gabriel, who told Holloway and Ward he knew the man who claimed to have carried out Van der Sloot’s request to move Natalee’s buried remains in a moment of panic.
Natalee, 18, vanished May 30, 2005, after leaving a bar in Aruba on the final night of a high school graduation trip. Gabriel said the man revealed to him that Van der Sloot — who is serving time in Peru on an unrelated murder — gave Natalee the date-rape drug GHB, and that she later choked on her own vomit.
The Oxygen series is following Holloway and Ward as they pursued the informant Gabriel’s account, hoping to secure criminal charges against those potentially involved in the case.
RELATED VIDEO: Story Behind the Story: New Clues in the Disappearance of Natalee Holloway
Questioning why the potential accomplice would cozy up to Van der Sloot when he was already the target of a possible murder investigation, Holloway asks in the episode: “Why would anyone in their crazy mind want to be friends with him? And I found out that they actually became what I understand to be lovers.”
The sting — recorded in a New Orleans hotel room by Ward’s team using hidden cameras and audio — involved Gabriel talking with the man, who is shown discussing his friendship in Aruba with Van der Sloot, a Dutch national.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
“Yeah, I was a little obsessed with him,” says the man. “We used to hook up with girls all the time and go out partying and gambling and stuff, and then one night we were having a threesome …. The problem was, the girl finished before us and passed the f— out, cause we were all drunk as s—.”
“So then he’s like, um, ‘Don’t worry, just turn off the lights, this is how we do it in Europe.’ I’m like, ‘This ain’t no Brokeback Mountain s— going down.’ He’s like, ‘Just shut up, it’ll all be over soon.’ After that there wasn’t no hesitation. We were all team players after that, getting each other off.”
In the same series of secret recordings, the man opens up about the alleged $1,500 offer from Van der Sloot to unearth Natalee’s remains; narrows the exact location of those remains; and says that Van der Sloot himself dug up dog bones to place on top of the human remains that had been buried in burlap.
He suggests the timing of those events coincided with Van der Sloot’s emails to John Q. Kelly, the attorney for Natalee’s mom, Beth Holloway, as Van der Sloot sought cash in exchange for information about Natalee’s fate. Those exchanges occurred in spring 2010. After Van der Sloot took $25,000 from Beth and then told Kelly he had nothing to offer, Van der Sloot was slapped in the U.S. with federal extortion charges that are pending against him when he finishes his 28-year sentence in Peru for killing Stephany Flores in 2010 on the fifth anniversary of Natalee’s disappearance.
• PEOPLE’s special edition True Crime Stories: 35 Real Cases That Inspired the Show Law & Order is on sale now.
The man says that after he took the unearthed, combined remains of Natalee and the dog to a crematory in Aruba and paid the facility $200, he turned the ashes over to Van der Sloot, and they were dumped at sea.
According to the episode, Holloway’s informant threatened to quit the case before Holloway and Ward could move their investigation back to the island, and even Holloway wonders if the undercover activity on U.S. soil will have any legal authority there.
“I can tell you right now, the recordings are not going to be admissible because they were not obtained by a police official from Aruba,” he says on the show.
In promoting the series, Holloway has since revealed that he discovered what have been confirmed as human skeletal remains from an old grave in Aruba. He is awaiting DNA tests to learn if they could match Natalee.
The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway airs on Saturday (7 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET) on Oxygen.