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Texas team to aid Aruba search

Teen's family lawyer says request filed, behavior experts used

Police are holding Joran Van Der Sloot, center, and brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe.


Crime, Law and Justice

ORANJESTAD, Aruba (CNN) -- A search-and-rescue organization from Texas was expected to arrive in Aruba late Tuesday to help look for Natalee Holloway, the Alabama teen who has been missing for more than three weeks.

Her uncle, Paul Reynolds, sought the group's help, said Tim Miller, director and founder of Texas EquuSearch. The name reflects the group's use of horses to search for missing people.

The 17 former and current law enforcement officers who comprise the search team are committed to spending at least five days in Aruba, Miller said.

They will bring three search dogs and side-scan sonar equipment, a sophisticated tool that can produce images of objects on the bottom of a body of water.

The trip will be paid for by donations, said Miller, who founded the organization in memory of his daughter, Laura, who was kidnapped and murdered in 1984.

Meanwhile, Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway Twitty, told an Aruba television station that she had met by chance with the parents of 17-year-old Joran Van Der Sloot, one of four suspects in custody.

None of the young men has been formally charged.

Police questioned Joran Van Der Sloot's father, Judge Paul Van Der Sloot, over the weekend in connection with Holloway's disappearance. (Full story)

Twitty said she met Van Der Sloot's mother, Anita, while handing out prayer cards and fliers on behalf of her daughter in the parents' neighborhood, and she was invited into the family's home.

"It was just a situation that presented itself when I was in his neighborhood and at his home, and I just acted upon it and, yes, we did have a conversation, and that's all I want to disclose about it at this time," Twitty said.

On the legal front, Holloway's family has hired a local attorney, Vinda de Sousa, who said Tuesday she has filed a letter under Aruban law that will allow the teen's family to join the prosecution case as the victimized party.

De Sousa said the move will give the family greater access to information gathered in the investigation. Nonetheless, she described information-sharing between police, prosecutor and Holloway's family as "good."

The attorney said police investigators have brought in behavioral and demeanor experts from the United States to sit in on interviews with the three suspects arrested initially.

Two of the suspects, brothers Deepak Kalpoe, 21, and Satish Kalpoe, 18, were moved from local police custody to the island's jail Tuesday, Police Commissioner Jan Van Der Straten said.

Joran Van Der Sloot was to have been moved to the jail later in the day.

Their transfer is considered customary after 10 days in local police custody, Van Der Straten said.

The commissioner said the suspects were held in separate facilities in the capital to ensure they would not communicate with one another and will be housed separately at the island jail.

The three young men were the last to be seen with Holloway when she left a nightclub early May 30, authorities said. They were arrested June 9.

Defense attorneys for Van Der Sloot and the Kalpoes have said their clients maintain they are not guilty.

A fourth person, Steve Croes, a 26-year-old party boat DJ, was arrested Friday.

All four face accusations of murder and kidnapping, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said.

Croes initially was questioned only as a witness, two law enforcement sources told CNN.

At the time, he allegedly corroborated the version of events told by Van Der Sloot and the Kalpoes, who said they dropped Holloway off at the Holiday Inn where she was staying, the sources said.

But police said their story fell apart under questioning and that no evidence has been found to show that the girl ever returned to her hotel.

That and the fact one of them named Croes led authorities to detain him as a suspect, the two law enforcement sources said.

Croes is now cooperating with authorities, the sources said.

Croes works on a boat that docks about 1,000 feet (300 meters) from the Holiday Inn where Holloway was staying.

The 18-year-old honors student from suburban Birmingham, Alabama, was in Aruba with about 100 classmates to celebrate their recent high school graduation.

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