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Holloway family awaits results of forensic testing

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Bone found in Aruba tested
  • Natalee Holloway's dental records are sent to the Hague this week
  • An initial test indicates the bone belongs to a young woman, the prosecutor says
  • If the bone is human in a second evaluation, DNA testing will be conducted
  • The jawbone was found near an Aruban hotel

(CNN) -- Natalee Holloway's family may soon learn whether a jawbone found on an Aruban beach last week belongs to the 18-year-old teen, who disappeared five years ago.

Investigators are first trying to determine whether the bone is that of an animal or human.

If the bone is human, authorities will then attempt to find out through DNA testing whether it belongs to Holloway, who was last seen on the island in 2005.

The results of the testing, which is being carried out by the Netherlands Forensic Institute in The Hague, Netherlands, may be available Friday.

Holloway's dental records were sent to the forensic institute on Wednesday, the FBI said.

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"We provided her dental records to the Dutch authorities. They were sent electronically," said FBI spokesman Paul Daymond. The information-sharing is "what we do, nothing out of the ordinary," he said.

The Holloway family had told HLN's "Nancy Grace" that the records were sent to The Hague.

The length of testing can vary, but normally takes about a week, according to a representative of the institute. The findings will be sent back to the prosecutor's office in Aruba, which will decide whether to make the results public.

Part of a jawbone with a tooth was found a week ago by an American tourist near the Phoenix Hotel, a large resort on the western side of the island, Aruban prosecutor Peter Blanken said.

Contacted by CNN, the hotel referred questions to local authorities.

The prosecutor said the bone was initially examined by a forensic expert in Aruba, who determined the bone was from a young woman. But Blanken cautioned the final determination would be made by the forensic institute in the Netherlands.

Holloway was 18 when she was last seen in the early hours of May 30, 2005, leaving an Oranjestad, Aruba, nightclub with Joran van der Sloot and two other men. She was visiting the island with about 100 classmates to celebrate their graduation from Mountain Brook High School in suburban Birmingham, Alabama.

Van der Sloot was detained twice in connection with Holloway's disappearance but never charged.

He is now awaiting trial in Lima, Peru, on a murder charge in the death of Peruvian student Stephany Flores. Her body was found in May in a hotel room registered to van der Sloot. The two were seen entering the room on a surveillance camera.

Van der Sloot, 23, is also charged with wire fraud and extortion in Alabama for allegedly attempting to extort more than $250,000 from Holloway's family in return for disclosing the location of her body.

HLN's Rupa Mikkilineni, CNN's Susan Candiotti, Laura Perez Maestro, Brian Walker and CNN Radio's Ninette Sosa contributed to this report.