Holloway’s mom opens center for missing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 9, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — The mother of an Alabama teen who disappeared in Aruba in 2005 said Tuesday it’s been a stressful time for her but she hopes a new resource center named for her daughter will help guide families of missing persons.

Beth Holloway opened the Natalee Holloway Resource Center at the National Museum of Crime & Punishment in Washington. Holloway said it will provide services that she initially lacked when her 18-year-old daughter vanished, such as access to government and media contacts and missing persons posters.

“I feel confident that it will serve as a point of light for all missing,” she said while standing in front of two photos of her daughter.

Beth Holloway did not speak about the latest developments in the case of the prime suspect in her daughter’s disappearance, Dutchman Jaren Van der Sloot. The museum’s chief operating officer, Janine Vaccarello, said Holloway could not discuss her daughter’s case or recent developments because of an FBI directive.

Natalee Holloway disappeared during a high school trip to the Caribbean island. The center’s opening comes just a day after police in Peru say Van der Sloot confessed to killing 21-year-old Stephany Flores, a Peruvian woman, in his Lima hotel room on May 30 — exactly five years after Holloway disappeared.

Van der Sloot was arrested twice in Holloway’s case — and gave a number of conflicting confessions, some in TV interviews — but was freed for lack of evidence.

Holloway’s father told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday that Van der Sloot should tell all he knows about the disappearance of his daughter.

Van der Sloot also faces charges in the United States with trying to extort $250,000 from Holloway’s family in exchange for disclosing the location of her body and describing how she died.

Beth Holloway thanked people for their continued support and said there are hundreds of other missing persons whose names never make it to the news.

“It’s been a stressful time for me and I know it’s been a very trying time for you,” she told reporters. “Let’s remind ourselves to keep the Flores family in our hearts and in our prayers, thank you, God bless.”

Vaccarello said the nonprofit resource center also houses a call center for families and provides educational materials on safe traveling for students. She said they will refer cases of those under age 18 to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

She said the Holloway center’s opening had been planned weeks ago and the timing with Van der Sloot’s confession has been a stressful coincidence.

“We want justice to be done with the situation with Joran,” Vaccarello said. “I’m really glad that Peru is just so proactive in doing something about it.”