Top Stories of the Year 2005: #3

#5: BRAC
#4: Economic Development
#3: Natalee Holloway

It was supposed to the trip of a lifetime, a celebration of 12 hard years of work.

"Natalee and I have always wanted to go to Aruba," said her friend Frances Ellen Byrd. "Everyone looked forward to it just to celebrate and be together one last time."

Natalee Holloway's graduation trip to Aruba turned out to be anything but a celebration. After several days of fun with friends from her graduating class, it was time to leave, and Natalee was no where to be found. She hasn't been seen since, despite months of searching by her parents, including her father, Dave Holloway, an insurance agent here in Meridian.

"When I left Meridian I met with my pastor and we asked God to give us strength," Holloway said.

Holloway needed all the strength he could muster, especially after officials in Aruba appeared to many to bungle the investigation. Three men were arrested in the case and held for several weeks, but Joran Van Der Sloot, and two brothers, Depak and Satish Kalpoe, were never officially charged in the case.

Neither Dave Holloway nor Beth Holloway-Twitty have given up, but Dave says he has come to grips with the fact that his daughter is probably no longer alive.

All parties involved hope one day, hopefully sooner rather than later, exactly what happened will come to light. Until then, they wait.

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