Holloway Suspect's Parents: Son Not Same

Feb. 6, 2006 — -- The disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway, who has not been seen since a high school graduation trip to Aruba last May, captivated the nation and devastated her friends and family.

But the parents of one of the prime suspects in Holloway's disappearance say the investigation has also devastated their son.

"I think Joran is not anymore the same boy," Paul van der Sloot said in his first interview since his son was released from prison.

Joran van der Sloot, 18, was arrested June 9 along with two friends, Surinamese nationals Satish Kalpoe, 18, and Deepak Kalpoe, 21, on suspicion of involvement in Holloway's disappearance. Van der Sloot was released from prison last September and is attending college in Holland.

"We tried to raise our kids in a way that they are able to trust people, and I think a lot of trust is gone," Anita van der Sloot said.

On the night that Holloway disappeared, Paul van der Sloot drove his son home from McDonalds. Without his parents' knowledge, Joran van der Sloot later snuck out of the house with two friends and went to a local bar where they met Holloway. She has not been seen since leaving the bar with the Kalpoes and van der Sloot on May 30.

"They picked up the girl, Natalee, that they, um, drove awhile and the, um, put the girl at the beach," Paul van der Sloot said.

"She left voluntarily with them, and there are witnesses," Anita van der Sloot added.

Joran van der Sloot told police he left Holloway on the beach.

"That was the most difficult thing to deal with as a parent, and it's also the thing that he regrets every day that he did not hand her over to a guard or somebody," Anita van der Sloot said. "He said that she was able to walk and when he mentioned that he wanted to bring her [to the] hotel she didn't want to go."

Parents Stand by Son, Deny Being Uncooperative

Some people, including Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway Twitty, have accused Joran van der Sloot of lying, insisting he knows more about the teen's disappearance. But Joran's parents stand by him.

"If we would have had any feeling that he was involved in something, Paul would have taken him to the police station and said: 'Here, hold him, he did something. He deserves his punishment,'" Anita van der Sloot said.

Paul van der Sloot has been accused of advising his son to keep quiet and not to cooperate. He has denied both claims.

"I told him to cooperate so much as possible," Paul van der Sloot said.

The van der Sloots said they had a lot of sympathy for Holloway's mother. But they also believe Twitty has carried on an unfair and relentless media campaign against their family and are critical of the way the U.S. media have covered the case. They will talk about those issues on Tuesday's "Good Morning America."