ORANJESTAD, Aruba -- The mother of a missing Alabama teenager yesterday called for more help from US authorities in the search for her daughter, who disappeared on the last day of a high school graduation trip to this Caribbean island.
Police and volunteers combed beaches and scrubland for any sign of Natalee Holloway, putting up posters with a photo of the 18-year-old honor student. The wording on the posters was changed yesterday to add a photo caption saying: ''Kidnapped since 1:30 a.m. May 30."
Authorities say there is no evidence Holloway was abducted, but police commissioner Jan van der Straaten said ''after four or five days you are afraid a crime has been committed."
Aruba's coast guard also searched surrounding waters, an indication authorities are considering the possibility she might have been taken off the island with or without her consent. Police found her passport in her hotel room.
Holloway was on a five-day excursion with 124 seniors and several chaperones from Mountain Brook High School, near Birmingham, Ala. The students took a commercial flight, while the chaperones arrived on a private jet, said airport ground handler Albert Groeneveld.
The teenager had just graduated and earned a full scholarship at the University of Alabama, where she planned to take a premedical course, said her uncle Paul Reynolds.
Aruba police and the Dutch military were leading the effort with assistance from FBI agents.
Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway Twitty, tearfully urged the Dutch government yesterday to request more help from the United States.
However, Attorney General Caren Janssen said local authorities did not need more US help. The State Department and the FBI did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.
Holloway spent the last night of her holiday at Carlos 'N Charlie's bar and restaurant in the capital, eating and dancing with classmates and residents. She was last seen sometime Monday between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., and didn't show up for her flight home hours later.
Police said they questioned and released three Aruban students who said they dropped Holloway off early Monday at the Holiday Inn where she had been staying just outside Oranjestad.
Janssen said police have been receiving tips every hour, but ''none has proven to be the golden tip." Hundreds of volunteers, soldiers, and police scoured sand dunes, beaches, and scrubland.
On an island known for its lack of violent crime, Holloway's disappearance shocked residents, and many said they were optimistic she would be found alive.
''In Aruba, we don't know what doing bad things to people is," said Jany Winterdal, a 51-year-old taxi driver. ''For me, she's alive."