BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The parents of Natalee Holloway, the American teenager who disappeared in Aruba in 2005, say their ordeal hasn't ended with a judge declaring their daughter dead.
Their lawyers say they hope a young Dutchman seen leaving a bar with Holloway on the last day she was seen alive might ultimately be brought before a U.S. court on charges stemming from the case.
"The FBI told us that they were investigating this from a homicide investigation and we've been dealing with her death for the last six and a half years," Dave Holloway, Natalee's father, told ABC News.
Twenty-four-year-old Joran van der Sloot pleaded guilty Wednesday in Peru to the 2010 slaying of a young woman he had met in a Lima casino.
That plea from the Dutchman described as the prime suspect in the Holloway case came hours before Thursday's hearing in a Birmingham court where Dave and Beth Holloway watched the difficult step of a judge ruling their daughter legally dead.
Holloway was visiting Aruba as part of a school trip to celebrate her highschool graduation in May 2005. She was last seen leaving a nightclub with three men on May 30.
The formal declaration will allow her parents to administer her estate -including gaining access to fund that were set aside for her college tuition.
Her father said those funds will now go to her brother.
ABC News contributed to this report.