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Kalpoe lawyer blasts Holloway's mom

Aruba prosecutors appeal judge's decision to release brothers
Beth Holloway Twitty with daughter Natalee on her high school graduation day in May.


Crime, Law and Justice

ORANJESTAD, Aruba (CNN) -- A lawyer for one of the brothers released from an Aruban jail in the case of missing Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway threatened legal action Wednesday over comments by the missing student's mother.

Elgin Zeppenfeldt, an attorney for Satish Kalpoe, accused Beth Holloway Twitty of making "prejudicial, inflammatory, libelous and totally outrageous" statements.

"She called our client, Mr. Satish Kalpoe, a 'criminal,' 'involved in a violent crime against my daughter' and who is 'allowed to walk freely among the tourists and citizens,' " Zeppenfeldt said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. (Full story)

Twitty made the remarks at a news conference Tuesday amid increasing frustration that her 18-year-old daughter -- missing five weeks -- has not been found.

Zeppenfeldt said her statement was "uncalled for, especially since my client is maintaining his innocence."

"In the event that these unfounded public condemnations and allegations against Mr. Kalpoe are not immediately ceased, he will consider taking legal steps to ensure that the aforementioned will not be repeated," the lawyer said.

A judge Monday allowed Satish Kalpoe, 18, and his 21-year-old brother, Deepak, to leave jail Monday after nearly a month in custody in connection with Holloway's disappearance.

The judge ordered Joran Van Der Sloot, the 17-year-old son of an Aruban judge, held for another 60 days while police continue their investigation.

Neither they nor Van Der Sloot have been charged with a crime, and their lawyers have said they were not involved in the teen's disappearance.

Holloway, from the affluent Birmingham, Alabama, suburb of Mountain Brook, was celebrating her high school graduation with about 100 classmates and several parent chaperones when she disappeared early May 30. She was last seen leaving a nightclub with the Kalpoe brothers and Van Der Sloot.

Late Wednesday, the lawyer for Natalee Holloway's family said the comments reflected "a mother's desperation after weeks of trying to find her daughter. When emotion kicks in, reason kicks out."

Asked whether there would be an apology for Twitty's comments, attorney Vinda de Sousa told CNN: "I plan to speak with the family tomorrow, and that could be one of the options I might suggest."

"The family is obviously very upset by the release of the Kalpoe brothers. It is an emotional reaction fueled by desperation. They have no answers, and they feel answers will come from these three suspects," de Sousa said.

Earlier in the day, Twitty said she knows the Kalpoes "definitely have involvement" in her daughter's disappearance.

"There are some things that I cannot disclose because I wouldn't want to jeopardize the investigation," she told CNN.

Zeppenfeldt said the decision to free his client from jail was made by "an impartial judge, who ruled that the suspicions and legal grounds that led to his detention were no longer present."

"Under Aruban law, as is the case in all other civilized nations, a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law," Zeppenfeldt said.

He acknowledged that Satish Kalpoe is still considered a suspect, despite his release, and said his client intends to continue to cooperate in the probe.

Zeppenfeldt said his client also resents Twitty's insinuation that he might leave the country, and "resents her plea to other nations not to give him a safe haven, as he does not intend to leave the island."

Twitty, the attorney said, has "publicly acted as judge, jury and executioner."

The Kalpoes' mother, Nadira Ramirez, told CNN Tuesday that the family canceled a planned vacation to Suriname so as not to give the impression that they were trying to flee.

On Tuesday, some Arubans showed their anger by protesting criticism of local officials. Zeppenfeldt said his client appreciated the support from island residents.

Earlier Wednesday, Aruba's Public Prosecutor's Office issued a statement saying it has appealed a judge's decision to free the Kalpoes. The office did not explain its reasons for the appeal.

Prosecutors said they also have appealed the judge's decision to allow Van Der Sloot's lawyers to sit in on police interrogations.

An attorney for the Van Der Sloot family said Wednesday that the teenager is appealing his continued detention.

A three-judge panel will hear the appeal and could either side with him, confirm the previous judgment or suspend the detention decision with conditions.

No date has been announced for the hearing.

On Wednesday, three Dutch F-16 jets equipped with lasers and special cameras joined the search. Several military personnel accompanied the F-16s, including specialists who will analyze pictures taken from the planes.

The Kalpoe brothers have told police they dropped Holloway and Van Der Sloot off at a beach north of a Marriott hotel after they left the nightclub.

Van Der Sloot's mother has said her son told her he was on the beach with Holloway but left her there because she wanted to stay.

CNN's Tracy Sabo and Patrick Oppmann contributed to the report.

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