BIRMINGHAM, Ala (Reuters) - A judge on Thursday declared dead Natalee Holloway, an Alabama teenager who disappeared more than six years ago during a school trip to the Caribbean island of Aruba.
With both of Holloway's parents present in the courtroom, Probate Judge Alan King said he would sign the order to allow a death certificate to be issued.
"This is a tremendously sad occasion. Our hearts go out to Dave Holloway, Matt, Beth Holloway, and all the members of this family on this sad day," King said, referring to the girl's father, brother and mother.
The death declaration came after a Dutch man, Joran Van der Sloot, who was arrested but not charged in the 2005 disappearance of Holloway, confessed in Lima, Peru earlier this week to killing a woman in Peru.
(Reporting By Verna Gates; Writing by Greg McCune; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)