A judge ruled Friday that Natalee Holloway’s father has met the legal presumption of her death and now it’s up to someone to prove she did not die six years ago on a high school graduation trip to Aruba.
Jefferson County’s probate judge rejected a request by Dave Holloway’s ex-wife, Beth Holloway, not to proceed with steps to declare their oldest child dead. The judge’s ruling Friday afternoon is the first of two rulings necessary for a declaration of death. The second could come in early 2012.
In a hearing, Dave Holloway became teary eyed and his voice cracked as he asked Probate Judge Alan King to bring legal closure to the case.
Natalee was last seen leaving a bar on the Caribbean island about 1:30 a.m. on May 30, 2005 before she went missing.
Beth Holloway did not attend because she was in California for a speech. Her attorney, Charlie DeBardeleben, said, she was “horrified” by her ex-husband’s efforts and she doesn’t want her oldest child declared dead.
“There is always a glimmer of hope, especially when there is no hard evidence she is dead,” the lawyer said.
The next step is to run legal notices in a newspaper to allow anyone to come forward with evidence that Natalee Holloway is alive at age 24. If no one does, the judge would hold another hearing in about three months, where he could issue a final order of death.
The Holloways divorced in 1993. Natalee Holloway was raised by her mother in Mountain Brook, a wealthy Birmingham suburb, and spent every other weekend with her father, an insurance agent in Meridian, Miss.