Watch CBSN Live

Probers Knew Early that Jawbone Wasn't Natalee's

The jawbone found on an Aruba beach is human, though it is unclear who it belongs to. But it certainly does not belong to missing Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, prosecutors in the Dutch Caribbean island said Tuesday.

In fact, CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella reports, Dutch investigators knew the jawbone was not connected to Holloway as soon as they looked at her dental records.

Aruba's attorney general, Taco Stein, said, "We learned that Natalee's wisdom teeth were taken out in 2004, and the bone we had had a wisdom tooth in it."

Aruba: Jawbone Not That Of Natalee Holloway
Is Jawbone Holloway's? Word Could Come Soon
Expert: DNA Can Link Jaw Bone to Holloway
Piece of Natalee Holloway's Jaw Found in Aruba?
Reports: Holloway's Mom Confronts van der Sloot
Lawyer: Revenge Try Won't Hurt Van Der Sloot
Van der Sloot a Dead Man, Ex-Con Says
Grisly van der Sloot Hotel Room Photos Surface
Inside Notorious Prisons van der Sloot Faces
Van der Sloot Confession Details Emerge
Moment Van der Sloot Met Flores Caught on Tape
Photos: Stephany Flores Murder
Photos: Van der Sloot Wanted for Murder
Photos: Natalee Holloway, Paradise Lost

The bone was found recently by a tourist on a beach, and Aruba prosecutors asked forensic scientists in the Netherlands to analyze it.

They assured that the Holloway case has "the constant attention from law enforcement on the island."

But John Kelly, an attorney for Holloway's mother, Beth Twitty, hinted that the media apparently found out first about the test results.

"Beth accepts the forensic conclusions, is emotionally exhausted from the inexplicably long wait and deeply disappointed in the time and manner in which she learned of the results," he said in a statement. "Apparently Aruban prosecutors were more sensitive to media concerns than the painful vigil of a mother."

It is unclear how exactly Twitty learned of the results. Family spokeswoman Sunny Tillman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Tuesday's announcement once again eliminates a hope of evidence about the fate of the Mountain Brook, Alabama, student who disappeared while on a high school graduation trip in 2005, when she was 18.

Stein told The Associated Press that officials do not know how old the jawbone is or where it might have come from.

"It's anybody's guess," he said. "We're a small island."

He speculated that it could even have come from nearby Venezuela or Curacao, given the intense hurricane season that churned the ocean.

Stein said authorities will check with police to see if the jawbone might belong to a missing person or the victim of an unsolved murder, but he said it was unlikely because Aruba only has a handful of those types of cases.

Cobiella added though prosecutors may not know to whom the jawbone belongs, the island's archaeological museum might. The local people, she pointed out, buried the bones of their dead in pots hundreds of years ago and an archaeological site close to the hotel where Holloway disappeared was never fully excavated.

She notes investigators say they'll compare the bone to any other missing persons cases. As for the Natalee Holloway case, they say it remains open.

Holloway's parents, Dave Holloway and Beth Twitty, did not respond to calls for comment.

Family attorney Vinda de Sousa told The Associated Press that the family might issue a statement later.

Earlier in the day Tuesday, Carol Standifer, a close friend of the teen's mother, said on "The Early Show" that if the bone did belong to the missing teen, "there will be some semblance of closure."

Holloway was last seen leaving a bar with Dutchman Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in her disappearance, on the final night of her trip.

Aruba prosecutors have repeatedly said they lack evidence to charge Van der Sloot, who is in jail in Peru on charges of killing 21-year-old Stephany Flores last May 30 -- five years to the day after Holloway's disappearance. He has denied killing Holloway.

U.S. law enforcement officials have charged Van der Sloot with trying to extort money from Holloway's mother to reveal the location of Holloway's body.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue