Police questioned van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers in connection with Natalee's disappearance. They were taken into custody early in the investigation, but authorities had little evidence and eventually released them. In November 2007, the three men were re-arrested in what appeared to be a break in the case. But instead of being charged with a crime, they were released again and the case against them was closed.
For Natalee's mother, Beth Holloway, the time since her daughter's disappearance has been an emotional rollercoaster. The announcement that the case is closed adds even more pain, she says.
"I think we've had so much hurt on this journey that it's almost as if you just have to keep yourself prepared for blows because they seem to come one after the other. And that was the final one, of course, when we're thinking of it—the finality. Of course it's more painful than the others," Beth says. "The journey has been just an endless marathon in that we've just had to really try to put the brakes on and just pace ourselves."
Despite what authorities have said, Beth says the case of her daughter's disappearance remains open for her family. "We've never really relied on an investigative approach to finding an answer," she says. "I think what we've relied on more heavily is at any given moment something unexpected could happen, and we really feel like someone could talk at any moment."