BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CN) - Natalee Holloway's mother sued The National Enquirer for outrage and privacy invasion, claiming the tabloid concocted "false and horrific headlines, statements, photographs and articles ... to profit off the tragic and still unresolved disappearance" of her daughter, who disappeared in Aruba 7 years ago.
Elizabeth Ann Holloway sued American Media and The National Enquirer for the tort of outrage and invasion of privacy, in Federal Court.
Her daughter disappeared on her high school class's senior trip to Aruba on May 30, 2005. Joran van der Sloot, who was suspected of killing her, pleaded guilty to murdering a different woman in Peru, 5 years to the day after Holloway disappeared. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison in Peru.
Elizabeth Holloway claims the Enquirer wrote and published "false headlines, articles, and statements with accompanying photographs" in its June 28, 2010; Dec. 6, 2010; and April 25, 2011 articles, and that the "false and outrageous articles and photography graphically describe the purported despicable treatment of Natalee's corpse."
The complaint states: "Defendants' conduct in publishing these false statements and accompanying manufactured photographs has been so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and is to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community. Furthermore, by publishing these false and disgusting statements and photographs, defendants intentionally and maliciously intruded into Holloway's emotional sanctum."
She claims the Enquirer "published numerous false headlines, articles, and statements with accompanying photographs regarding Natalee and her family in
2005 and 2006," and "continued to publish similar, additional false headlines, articles, and statements with accompanying photographs through at least April 25,
Natalee's body has not been found, though she is presumed to be dead. "Despite repeated searches of Aruba and its waters, neither Natalee nor Natalee's remains have ever been located," her mother says in the complaint.
But she says the Enquirer concocted a story, and photo, of her daughter's alleged "grave."
She cites the Enquirer's "false and outrageous" page 1 headline of Dec. 6, 2010: "NEW BONE EVIDENCE:
"NATALEE WAS BURIED ALIVE!
"Joran's secret graveyard with 5 MORE BODIES;
"Killer's sickening confession
"CAUGHT ON TAPE!
"HER TERRIFYING LAST MINUTES"
The mother says all of this is false, and that it "was published with actual malice, that is, with actual knowledge of falsity or with reckless disregard for truth or falsity."
The mom cites two other of the Enquirer's lurid, multi-deck headlines, and statements from the accompany articles.
She demands punitive damages.
She is represented by Elizabeth Littell Courson of Montgomery, and L. Lin Wood with Wood, Hernacki & Evans of Atlanta.