Natalee Holloway's Remains? Aruba Divers to Examine Area

Snorkeling couple thinks they photographed missing teen's skeleton off Aruba.

ByABC News
March 19, 2010, 11:32 AM

March 21, 2010— -- Aruban authorities are dispatching a dive team to investigate a Pennsylvania couple's underwater photograph that may show skeletal remains of Natalee Holloway, an Alabama high school student who went missing on the Caribbean island five years ago.

Ann Angela, a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor's office in Aruba, said Saturday she was not authorized to say when the dive would take place, except that it will happen "in the very near future."

The results of the dive planned for somewhere "on the south part of the island, where the beaches are," likely would not be made public until Monday or later, Angela added on Sunday.

The underwater photograph of the sea floor depicts a rough outline that the couple believes resembles a human skeleton, according to the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era, which first published the photo on Thursday.

Patti Muldowney, 62, of Rapho Township, Pa., took the photo while snorkeling off the Caribbean island but "only discovered it after we got the film developed," she told the paper of the body-shaped image in the picture.

"We have received the photo," Angela said Saturday. "The problem is that the couple cannot say exactly where they took the picture. They cannot point to the exact location. But someone has now come forward who believes that they know the spot. So we are going to do a preliminary investigation, which means a dive team will be dispatched to that location."

Angela couldn't reveal the identity of the person who recognized the underwater location of the photo -- but said it was likely a local who dives often and knows the waters around the island well.

Angela said any evidence found during any dive to investigate the photo likely would be sent to the Dutch Forensic Institute in The Hague.

She added that it was not uncommon for human remains to be found off the coast and cautioned that even if a body was discovered it might not be Holloway.

Muldowney and her husband John initially showed the photograph to local police and forwarded it to FBI, which told them it would investigate.

"It just seems so strange that that girl never showed up, and here we are right off the shoreline, right where she disappeared, and there's a body lying there," John Muldowney said.

"I hate to say I wish it was her, but it would give that family some closure," he said.

Calls to the couple by ABC News were not immediately returned.

The FBI provided the photo to Aruban authorities, Angela said Sunday, but had not been invited to participate in the Aruban investigation.

Holloway went missing in May 2005 during a high school graduation trip to Aruba. Her disappearance became an international cause celebre.