Holloways' Friends Lend a Hand

By: Aisha Greer
By: Aisha Greer

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Police investigating the disappearance of 18-year-old Natalee Holloway carried out a pre-dawn helicopter survey of the Caribbean Island Thursday, but have not said what they discovered, if anything.

In Meridian, friends of the Holloway family are trying to help in a major way with the family's expenses.

Authorities have yet to say what, if anything, they have found after searching the home of a Dutch teenager in Aruba. FBI agents say he is the prime suspect in Natalee Holloway's disappearance.

Joran Van Der Sloot, 17, the son of a local justice official, was with the 18-year-old Mississippi native the night she disappeared. Two of his friends, brothers from Surinam were with them, and are also in police custody.

"They have a different story every time. It makes me wonder. There was no dropping her off at the hotel. Something happened," said Linda Allison, Natalee's aunt.

So far, none of the three has been charged with a crime. On Wednesday, their lawyers demanded to be shown some type of evidence against their clients.

"They want to have certain documents pertaining to the case, but since the case is still going on, if they get those documents, it may be harmful to the case," said Marianne Croes, the prosecutor's spokesperson.

While police continue investigating the disappearance of Natalee in Aruba, friends of Dave and Robin Holloway, Natalee's father and stepmother who live in Meridian, are trying to assist the family financially by holding a fundraiser.

"We're just trying to do what we can. It is a sad situation and it is only right for us to do something," said Andrew Hart, a friend of Dave Holloway.

According to Hart, Dave Holloway has already spent almost $20,000 so far in the search for his daughter.

"We will be collecting funds at the (Mississippi) Braves game (in Pearl, Miss.) before and after the game," he said, referring to the June 17 game versus West Tennessee, starting at 7:05 p.m.

"We're just doing what we can to help," said Steve DeSalvo, general manager of the Mississippi Braves, who was in Meridian Thursday.

The money collected will be put into the "Help Find Natalee" Fund set up at Trustmark National Bank, to which anyone may donate just by going to any branch and designating the gift.

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