She disappeared almost three years ago and within hours the search for Alabama teen Natalee Holloway began and continues to this day.
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Friday, May 24 2013 11:48 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:48:33 GMT
Four months after their loved ones were killed in a brutal crime, the families of the victims are seeking justice. Three Montgomery residents were found dead inside a car along Interstate 85 near AtlantaMore >>
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It's a crime that mesmerized people in Alabama and around the world. Now the disappearance of Natalee Holloway is turning into a learning experience for students.
Natalee's mother, Beth Holloway-Twitty, was at Auburn University-Montgomery Wednesday to help kick off a partnership called The Cold Case Investigative Research Institute.
The institute gives criminal law students a chance to work on real-life investigations. It also could shed light on some of the most notorious unsolved crimes.
During their first session, the students heard Holloway-Twitty explain how difficult it was to get answers about her daughter from officials in a foreign country.
"In our situation, it took six days for the American consulate to respond to a kidnap situation," she said. "That's too long."
The students are re-examining Natalee Holloway's disappearance in Aruba, along with real-life law enforcement officers.
"They're paired up with someone who either does it or used to do it," said Sheryl McCollum of Bauder College in Atlanta. "it's the best way in the world to learn."
McCollum helped create the institute, which is a partnership between Bauder, AUM, and Faulkner University. Organizers plan to eventually add other schools.
At the very least, students hope to find new information for victims' families. But they also hope to one day help bring an unsolved case to a close.
"Often in the world of academia, we're accused of being too ivory tower," said AUM Chancellor John Veres. "But this is a wonderful example of the kind of practical good a university can do."
Students will conduct their research in the classroom and in the real world, with trips to crime scenes. They are also investigating the high-profile Chandra Levy murder case in Washington, D.C.
Beth Holloway-Twitty chose not to speak with the media on camera during her visit.