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Van der Sloot ordered released from Aruba jail

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  • NEW: Ruling could end hopes for prosecutions in Natalee Holloway case
  • Judge again rules that Joran van der Sloot must be released
  • Brothers who had been jailed were ordered freed last week
  • Alabama teenager Holloway has been missing since May 2005
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(CNN) -- In a decision that could end hopes for any prosecutions in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, an Aruban judge on Friday ordered the release of a third suspect, Joran van der Sloot.


Joran van der Sloot waits in an airport last month during his transfer from the Netherlands to Aruba.

The other suspects, brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe, were released last week, a decision upheld by a three-judge panel on appeal. Prosecutors said they will not appeal the decision to release van der Sloot, meaning all three suspects will remain free pending any potential trial.

The judge's reasoning in making the decision Friday follows that of the Court of Appeal in the decision to uphold the release of the Kalpoes, Chief Public Prosecutor Hans Mos' office said in a written statement.

"He writes that recent investigation has not resulted in more direct evidence than before that Natalee Holloway has died as a result of a violent crime against her or that the suspect has been involved in such a crime," it said.

The prosecutor's office said that in light of the Court of Appeal's decision on the Kalpoes' release, an appeal of the van der Sloot decision is viewed as "fruitless."

All three suspects, who were arrested and released during the investigation in 2005, were rearrested November 21, with authorities citing new and incriminating evidence against them. That new evidence has not been disclosed, but Mos has said it was gathered from advanced techniques used to re-examine existing information, including cell phone records and text messages exchanged the night Holloway disappeared.

Investigators also returned to the homes of the suspects to try to re-create transmissions. The team also discovered that some existing evidence was improperly analyzed, Mos said.

The three were held on suspicion of manslaughter, or assault and battery resulting in Holloway's death, authorities have said.

Holloway, 18, has not been seen since she left an Oranjestad, Aruba, nightclub on May 30, 2005, with the three youths. She was on the island with about 100 classmates celebrating their graduation from Mountain Brook High School in suburban Birmingham, Alabama, but failed to show up the following day for her flight home.

Mos has said he believes evidence in the case will show Holloway is dead, although her body has never been found.

The three youths have maintained their innocence in the case. The Kalpoes have told police they dropped Holloway and van der Sloot off near a lighthouse on the northern tip of the island after they left the nightclub. Van der Sloot's mother, Anita, has said her son told her he was on the beach with Holloway but left her there because she wanted to stay.

Prosecutors have said they will announce by the end of the year whether they will try the suspects in the case.

Meanwhile, the girl's parents have resumed the search for her remains. A boat commissioned to search the waters off the coast of Aruba was expected to arrive on Tuesday, after it was delayed by a storm in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the boat team. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Tracy Sabo contributed to this report.

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