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Three more arrested in Aruba missing teen case

Natalee Holloway is a straight-A student and a member of the National Honor Society.

ORANJESTAD, Aruba (CNN) -- Three more suspects were arrested Thursday in the investigation into the disappearance of Alabama 18-year-old Natalee Holloway in Aruba, bringing those in custody to five.

Juron Van Der Sloot -- the 17-year-old son of an Aruban judge -- was among those taken into custody early Thursday. Authorities also arrested two brothers of Surinamese origin, Satish and Depak Kalpoe, ages 18 and 19.

Authorities said the three were the last people seen with Holloway, who was in Aruba on a high school graduation trip. She was seen leaving an Oranjestad nightclub, Carlos 'N Charlie's, with them about 1:30 a.m. on May 30, they said.

In previous questioning, the three told police they visited a beach with Holloway before taking her back to her hotel, the Holiday Inn, about 2 a.m.

Holloway, from the Birmingham suburb of Mountain Brook, has not been seen since then. She was visiting the Caribbean island off Venezuela with about 100 classmates and parent chaperones to celebrate graduation.

Van Der Sloot met Holloway in the casino of her hotel the day before her disappearance, authorities said.

Under the Dutch judicial system, which Aruba follows as a protectorate of The Netherlands, people are arrested on suspicion of a crime but formally charged later. Authorities did not say what charges the three may face.

Authorities arrested 28-year-old Abraham Jones and 30-year-old Mickey John on Sunday.

Authorities said their witness statements did not lead to the three arrests, but that police had been watching the youths ever since they were questioned shortly after Holloway's disappearance.

Towels covered the faces of the three as authorities led them from their homes. Police searched the homes afterward. At a news conference later, police said they seized a vehicle and other items but declined to elaborate.

Reporters asked authorities why they previously questioned the trio before releasing them and why they didn't seize the vehicle at that time.

Calling the arrests a "tactical" move, police denied suggestions that class, wealth or race played a role in the investigation. The three arrested Thursday are from comparatively well-to-do families, while the two detained earlier live on the island's poorer, more industrial eastern side.

"The suspicion of a suspect has nothing to do with the color of his skin, but the grounds of suspicion," said chief prosecutor Karin Janssen.

Aruba Prime Minister Nelson Oduber vowed, "On this island, nobody stands above the law."

Authorities have not said whether they believe Holloway is dead, and her relatives, waiting for news in Aruba, have said they are clinging to hope that she is alive.

An FBI dive team has left the island, saying the government gave them no specific areas to search. And a second dive team said Thursday they had searched all the public coastlines and were awaiting further direction from officials.

Police were investigating any possible tie between the three arrested Thursday and the two arrested Sunday.

According to police statements, at least one of the three arrested Thursday told authorities that as Holloway was getting out of their car at her hotel, she stumbled and one of them helped her up. Walking to the hotel, she stumbled a second time, and a "dark-colored" man wearing a black T-shirt and carrying a radio helped her, the statement said.

A hotel employee who has reviewed surveillance tapes from the morning of Holloway's disappearance said they don't show any sign of the teenager.

Jones' attorney, Chris Lejuez, said his client is accused of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and capital kidnapping, or kidnapping resulting in death.

Jones' and John's relatives maintain their innocence. John's mother, Ann, said, "My son knows nothing, nothing, concerning this girl."

Lejuez said he knew of no connection between Jones and John and the three others arrested. Of the latter, he said, "The public has been screaming for their arrest for quite some time now."

Jones and John were security guards working at the Hotel Allegro, which is near the Holiday Inn where Holloway was staying. Lejuez said neither was working the night she disappeared.

The two went before the judge Wednesday, but prosecutors did not provide much of the evidence against them, Lejuez said.

The two can remain jailed for up to four months, but such detainment requires more appearances before a judge, and the amount of evidence prosecutors must cite to hold them grows larger, the lawyer said.

"I don't see any reason to keep them," Lejuez said. "I have no reason to believe they have enough evidence to charge them."

CNN's Karl Penhaul contributed to this report.

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