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Draining of Aruba pond begins

Gardener says he saw suspects the night teen disappeared

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PALM BEACH, Aruba (CNN) -- Investigators in Aruba searching for missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway began draining a pond Tuesday night.

The pond is near the beach where two brothers told police they dropped off Holloway and a judge's son early May 30, the day she disappeared.

Searchlights guided firefighters as they began pumping at least 3,600 gallons of water a minute, a rate that would drain about 2 inches an hour, a spokesman at the scene said.

The task began at 9 p.m. and was expected to take about 15 hours, the spokesman said.

Two law enforcement sources close to the investigation told CNN a local gardener gave them information about the pond that made them want to search it for the teen's body.

The sources would not say what the gardener's connection is to the pond or what that information he has.

Deepak Kalpoe, 21, and his brother, Satish, 18, are still considered suspects in Holloway's disappearance, despite being released from jail.

They told police that after leaving a nightclub they drove Holloway, 18, and Joran van der Sloot, 17, to the beach north of the Marriott Hotel and left them there.

All three were taken into custody June 9, but the two brothers were released July 4.

Van der Sloot, the son of an Aruban judge who at one point also was briefly detained, remains in jail. No one has been charged in connection with the girl's disappearance.

Holloway, 18, was on a post-graduation class trip to Aruba with classmates from the Birmingham, Alabama, suburb of Mountain Brook when she disappeared.

According to a sworn statement to authorities over the weekend, the gardener claimed to have seen a car belonging to the Kalpoe brothers parked near an adjacent racket club about 2:30 that morning, the sources said.

In his statement, the gardener said he recognized the Kalpoe brothers and Van der Sloot sitting in the darkened car.

The pond and racket club are about a quarter-mile from the hotel.

Van der Sloot's mother has said her son told her he was on the beach with Holloway but left without her because she wanted to stay.

On Monday, Holloway's mother announced a reward of $1 million for her safe return. (Full story)

CNN's Susan Candiotti, Eric Marrapodi, Bethany Chamberland and Darryl Trimm contributed to this report.

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