Natalee Holloway, the 18-year-old who disappeared in Aruba in 2005, has likely been dead for six years, but yesterday, in front of both of her parents, a judge made it official.
The declaration has been a long time coming and certainly it doesn't mean her parents have given up on finding her. But it does mean that they can finally get some "closure" (as if that even exists) and begin to proceed in matters that have been on hold. It doesn't mean they will stop seeking justice.
Still, justice may never come for the devastated family. On Wednesday, Joran Van der Sloot, the main person many suspect knows something about Holloway's disappearance, confessed to murdering another girl in Peru. Though he will likely be serving a 30-year sentence for the murder of Stephany Flores, Holloway's parents are hoping his next stop will be Birmingham, Alabama to face federal charges accusing him of extorting $25,000 from mother Beth Holloway to reveal the location of her daughter’s body. The money was paid, but nothing came of it.
In fact, Van der Sloot used the money to travel to Peru, according to the charges. Two weeks later, he killed Flores. Even if he is tried for extortion, he may never be tried for Natalee's murder.
On Thursday, her father Dave Holloway said:
We've been dealing with her death for the last six and a half years. We’ve still got a long way to go to get justice.
Justice may never come for the family. The death certificate will help Dave Holloway stop payments on her medical insurance and use her $2,000 college fund to help her younger brother, but the pain will always remain. So will the unknowns.
The fact is, few cases like Holloway's really get solved. More than one-third of murder cases remain unsolved, and in cases where there is no body or evidence, it seems to go even further. Holloway, who disappeared while on her high school graduation trip, may never get the justice she -- and every murder victim -- deserves. Her parents may see their main suspect in court. They may even see him in trouble for extortion, but his biggest crime may go unsolved.
It's cold comfort for the Holloways and a sad truth about cases like these. But there is nothing that could ever give justice to a girl murdered when she had her whole life ahead of her. These is not justice enough in the world for that. It's heartbreakingly awful.
Do you think the Holloways will get justice?