Natalee Holloway's father Dave conducted a sting operation in New Orleans to learn more about his daughter's disappearance, according to the latest episode of the six-part Oxygen series "The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway," which aired Saturday.
Natalee went missing in 2005 and was officially declared dead in 2012 despite her body not being found.
The second episode of the Oxygen series — which shows how Natalee's dad conducted a private investigation to find out what happened to their daughter — revealed more details about the investigation, which began with a phone call from a man named Gabriel.
This man told Dave's private investigator, T.J. Ward, that he became friends with a man named John Ludwig, who claimed to have been involved in removing Natalee’s body from an isolated grave at the request of longtime suspect Joran Van der Sloot. Later they cremated the body.
Dave's 18-month long private investigation uncovered human skeletal remains at an undisclosed location in Aruba, a Dutch Carribean island off Venzueala
He now awaits DNA testing to learn if those remains belong to Natalee.
The goal in the sting operation was to get Ludwig to confess on hidden camera what he’d told Gabriel earlier.
Ludwig told Gabriel that he accepted $1,500 from Van der Sloot to dig up Natalee’s body from the Aruban national forest. After that they planned to take it to a crematory, and scatter the ashes at sea, People magazine reported.
The episode revealed that the body was "never in the national forest" but was buried near a house in a cul de sac not far from Ludwig’s aunt’s home on the island.
“We need to find out what’s the truth and what’s not the truth,” investigator Ward said in the episode.
During the filming of the sting, Gabriel once said on-camera that he feared Ludwig.
“He is not a person that you want to be around, ‘cause he’s not mentally stable,” Gabriel says. Gabriel lured Ludwig to New Orleans saying they would indulge in “a fun, free vacation with all expenses paid.”
Natalee vanished without a trace while on vacation in Aruba. Three people are believed to have played a part in her disappearance — Van der Sloot and two Surinamese brothers, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe,
The Kalpoe brothers were arrested three times but released for lack of evidence. Van der Sloot, a Dutchman, is currently serving 28 years in a Peruvian prison for an unrelated 2010 murder of Stephany Flores.
In 2008, Aruban authorities officially closed the case.
“Little did they know, they weren’t just looking for a kidnapper or killer, they were up against the whole Aruban government,” Nancy Grace said on “Nightline” last week about the case.
Natalee’s father called the newfound human remains “the most credible lead I’ve seen in the last 12 years,” but Aruban Public Prosecutor Dorean Kardol disputed the claim about the remains.