BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – The mother of Natalee Holloway is suing The National Enquirer, saying the tabloid published untrue stories to profit from her daughter’s 2005 disappearance in Aruba.
Beth Holloway said in the lawsuit filed Wednesday that the magazine and its publisher, American Media Inc., published “false headlines, articles and statements” for nearly seven years.
“They keep on doing it,” said Lin Wood, the attorney for Beth Holloway. “We had no choice but to file this lawsuit. This is a mother who has exercised every effort to make sure her daughter is alive.”
Natalee Holloway was 18 years old when she vanished during a high school graduation trip to the Caribbean island of Aruba. She was last seen leaving a bar the morning of May 30, 2005 with Joran van der Sloot, a Dutchman who was raised in Aruba.
Holloway’s body was never found and the ensuing searches for her would create intense media scrutiny and worldwide attention. In January, a judge declared Holloway dead.
Wood said Beth Holloway hopes her daughter is still alive. But if Natalee Holloway is not, Wood said, the mother believes Van der Sloot is responsible for her daughter’s death, saying the “evidence is overwhelming” against him.
Van der Sloot is the prime suspect in Holloway’s unsolved disappearance. He faces extortion and wire fraud charges in Alabama in connection with Holloway’s unsolved disappearance in Aruba exactly five years before he killed Peruvian college student Stephany Flores after meeting her in a Lima casino.
Van der Sloot pleaded guilty in January in Peru to killing the 21-year-old Flores.
The lawsuit mentions several articles, including one that claims van der Sloot had a “secret hand-drawn” map to Holloway’s grave. The lawsuit also claims the magazine knew statements used in stories were false when they were published.
A call to Boca Raton, Fla.-based American Media Inc. was not immediately returned.
“Defendants purposely avoided learning the truth by, among other things, failing to attempt to interview many individuals who could confirm or deny the things stated in the headlines, articles, and statements and captured in the photographs,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)