SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico Judges have rejected an attempt to re-arrest a Dutch college student in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, a prosecutor said Friday.
An appeals court ruled Thursday that authorities do not have enough new evidence to arrest Joran van der Sloot for a third time, prosecutor Dop Kruimel told The Associated Press.
Aruban prosecutors had asked to re-arrest Van der Sloot based on the hidden-camera recordings made by a Dutch TV crime show.
It showed Van der Sloot saying he was with the Alabama teenager when she died on the Dutch Caribbean island and that he had a friend dump her body at sea.
But Kruimel said the three-judge panel decided his statements in the recording conflicted with some of his previous statements to investigators and other evidence in the case.
"The evidence has to be very, very strong," she told the AP by a telephone from Oranjestad. "The court says, 'We have reason to doubt the declaration."'
The Prosecutor's Office also noted in a statement that Van Der Sloot has "a history of contradictory statements" and the courts are generally reluctant to jail people if they have been previously detained and released.
Prosecutors brought the case to the Court of Appeals for the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba after a lower court judge said there was enough evidence to reopen an inquiry but not enough to detain Van der Sloot.
"Some of the things he says (on the tape) we can verify," Kruimel said. "But what happened on the beach, what happened to Holloway, we do not have proof."
Kruimel said the interview produced new leads and the investigation remains open.
"We still see him as a suspect," she said of Van Der Sloot, who now attends a university in the Netherlands.
Holloway, an 18-year-old from Mountain Brook, Ala., was last seen in May 2005 leaving a bar in the Aruban capital Oranjestad with Van der Sloot, 20, and two Surinamese brothers on the final night of a high school graduation trip to the island. Extensive searches have found no trace of her.
Van der Sloot, 20, was detained twice before, but was released for insufficient evidence.
Van der Sloot has told authorities he had no involvement in her death. But in the Dutch TV video he says she collapsed on the beach after they left the bar and that he called a friend to dump her body at sea. The statements were recorded in installments inside a car.