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Judge declares missing Alabama woman legally dead

Our readers may have heard of the case of Natalee Holloway, a young woman from Alabama disappeared on a high school graduation trip in Aruba back in 2005. On Thursday, an Alabama judge declared Holloway legally dead. The declaration was reportedly given at the request of Holloway's father, who is divorced from her mother. He had apparently requested the court to allow him to cease payments on her medical insurance and allow him to use her $2,000 college fund to assist her younger brother.

Holloway's family has criticized Aruban officials for their handling of the case. According to sources, Aruban authorities began working on the case with the assumption that they were dealing with a homicide.

According to sources, Holloway was last seen leaving a bar with the Dutchman on the morning of May 30, 2005. Her body, however, was never found. Our readers who followed the case may remember that Aruban prosecutors closed the case near the end of 2007, but that the case was reopened in February 2008. The case was opened after a video was found which showed a Dutch suspect under the influence of marijuana, making statements about Holloway's death on the morning of May 30, 2005, and that he had disposed of her body.

The 24-year-old Dutchman has not been charged in the murder of Holloway because of lack of evidence, but he does currently face federal charges of extortion and wire fraud in the amount of $25,000 in connection with a promise to reveal the location of Holloway's body to her mother.

Interestingly, the man reportedly pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the murder of a 21-year-old woman he met at a casino in Lima.

Source: Fox News, "Alabama judge to sign order declaring Natalee Holloway legally dead," January 12, 2012.

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