published Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Alabama judge to declare Natalee Holloway legally dead

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — An Alabama judge says he’ll sign an order declaring Natalee Holloway legally dead, more than six years after the teenager vanished on the Caribbean island of Aruba.

Judge Alan King announced that at a hearing Thursday requested by the teen’s father, David Holloway. The father told the judge in September he believed his daughter had died and he wanted to stop paying her medical insurance and use her college fund for her brother.

Thursday’s hearing was set before a suspect questioned in Holloway’s disappearance, Dutchman Joran van der Sloot, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Peru to the 2010 murder of a woman there.

Natalee Holloway disappeared on a high school graduation trip May 30, 2005. She was last seen leaving a bar with van der Sloot. Her body was never found.

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