Aruba Calls Off Watery Search for Natalee's Remains
Photo is likely of coral, not skeleton: authorities
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2010 6:02 AM CDT
John F. Muldowney holds a photo in his home in Manheim, Pa., Thursday, March 18, 2010, that his wife Patti took while the couple was on vacation in Aruba in early October 2009.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – Aruban authorities have called off the underwater search for Natalee Holloway's body that was sparked when a Pennsylvania couple spotted what they believed to be a skeleton in photos they took while snorkeling off the island last year. A dive team spent two days scouring the waters favored by the island's tour companies but didn't find anything resembling the shape shown in the image. "It's a dead end. We're assuming the photo is of coral," said a rep for the Aruba prosecutor's office.

Three months after snapping vacation photos of colorful fish, John and Patti Muldowney say they looked at one of the photos and thought, "By darn, that certainly does look like a skeleton." A forensic anthropologist told CNN the photo looks consistent with the appearance of bodies buried underwater, but a doctor was more skeptical: "What I don't like about the photo is, there's no spinal cord or vertebral column," he said.