The forensic scientist in charge of testing human remains linked to missing teenager Natalee Holloway also helped identify victims of the 9/11 terror attacks, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Dr Jason Kolowski was part of a first response team at Ground Zero following the twin towers attack in New York, which saw 2,753 killed by hijackers.
He worked for weeks identifying fragments of bone, body parts and tissue from the victims of the attacks.
Now the forensic scientist has focused his expertise on identifying bone fragments found at a site in Aruba where Natalee may have been buried.
Dr Kolowski, 41, runs his own firm, Forensic Insight Consulting, and has analyzed the bone fragments on behalf of the Holloway family and has already made a significant breakthrough.
Missing: Natalee Holloway on Aruba on May 30, 2005 while on a trip with friends to the Carribean getaway destination to celebrate her high school graduation.
Source: An informant called Gabriel (right) mat Dave Holloway (left) after making secret recordings of John Luwdick in which he apparently confessed to helping dispose of Natalee’s body. The information led to the trip to Aruba and the discovery of the bone fragments
Reconstruction: The new Oxygen documentary follows Dave Holloway’s trip to Aruba, which included a dig at a spot on the island where bone fragments were found. It showed footage reconstructing what vand der Sloot and Ludwick were alleged to have done
He discovered the remains found by private investigator TJ Ward are of a single individual, of European descent – facts revealed exclusively by DailyMail.com.
‘They are human, and they are of Caucasian, European descent,’ he told Oxygen cable channel, which is running a docuseries on the latest development called ‘The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway’.
Natalee, who was declared legally dead in 2012, was also Caucasian and of European descent.
However, Dr Kolowski said confirmation on the sex of the person won’t be known until next month.
This is due to the fact that the DNA found on the bone fragments is mitochondrial, which takes longer to test than the more commonly found nuclear DNA.
The breakthrough, made during the preliminary stages of DNA testing, means the Holloway family is one step closer to finding out the agonizing truth behind their daughter’s disappearance.
DailyMail.com also exclusively revealed that Natalee’s mother Beth Holloway has provided a saliva sample to assist in the testing.
Dr Kolowski is in the process of conducting a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test on the remains at his state-of-the-art laboratory.
The mtDNA test traces a person’s matrilineal ancestry using the DNA in his or her mitochondria – a structure that sits inside cells of all body parts.
This type of DNA is passed down by the mother unchanged, to all her children, both male and female.
If the mtDNA inside the bone fragments matches that in the saliva provided by Beth Holloway, that will be conclusive evidence that Natalee’s remains have been found.
Dr Kolowski is used to working on major criminal cases like this one.
A career forensic scientist, he worked from 1999 to 2012 for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York.
The 9/11 atrocity put the lab at the cutting edge of identifying human remains, and it is still working to identify remains recovered from the site of the twin towers.
Father and son: Ludwick alleged that van der Sloot killed Natalee and his father Paulus helped him dispose of the body (Paulus and Joran in December 2007 after the young man was released from custody)
Suspect: Joran van der Sloot is now in prison in Peru for murdering another young woman, but the evidence of informant ‘Gabriel’ could bring new hope of solving the mystery of Natalee Holloway
Where did she go: The DNA evidence in the Holloway case will be released around the time the finale airs on Oxygen (Aruba with key Holloway points above)
Just two months after 9/11 he also helped in the identification of victims in the devastating American Airlines Flight 587 crash in Queens, New York.
The commercial jet carrying 251 passengers and nine crew members accidentally crashed shortly after take off into the neighborhood of Belle Harbor, killing everyone on board on November 12, 2001. Only a dog was killed on the ground.
Dr Kolowski was also director of Washington D.C.’s forensic science laboratory from 2012 to 2015, when he set up his own consulting company.
The Cornell and CUNY graduate has also written a textbook on forensic science and in New York, helped set up the city’s first mitochondrial DNA lab.
Involvement: Dave Holloway and private detective TJ Ward have been to Aruba and are now waiting for the tests on the remains
Natalee’s father Dave Holloway turned to him earlier this year after human remains were found by his private investigator following a tip off about a possible burial site for the missing teen.
The 18-year-old, from Mountain Brook, Alabama vanished on Aruba on May 30, 2005 while on a trip to celebrate her high school graduation.
She was last seen by her classmates leaving a nightclub with Joran van der Sloot – a 17-year-old Dutch honors student living on the tropical island. No trace of her body has ever been found.
The new information came from an informant named Gabriel, a former roommate of van der Sloot’s best friend John Ludwick.
Van der Sloot – who is currently in prison in Peru serving a 28-year sentence for the 2010 murder of 21-year-old business student Stephany Flores Ramírez – has long been a suspect in Natalee’s disappearance.
Gabriel told Dave Holloway that, according to Ludwick, his daughter was buried in a park near her hotel on the island – a sequence of events that marked one of the biggest breaks in the 12-year history of the case.
Ludwick apparently told Gabriel that van der Sloot disposed of Natalee’s body with help from his father Paulus, a judge on the island, after the teen choked to death on her own vomit soon after she was given a drink that had been spiked with GHB. Paulus has since died.
Van der Sloot revealed his actions to Ludwick, who then repeated the information to Gabriel while the two were living together in recent years.
Dave announced last week while appearing on Today that he followed up on that tip, and soon after remains were found.
Previous effort: In 2005 Joran van der Sloot was taken in handcuffs to locations near where Natalee Holloway was last known to have been seen, but was not charged due to lack of evidence
‘We did an 18-month undercover investigation with an informant who was friends with an individual who had personal knowledge from Joran van der Sloot,’ said Dave.
‘And had information that took us to a spot where remains were found. And we took those remains and had those remains tested. And they just returned last week they are human remains.’
Dave said he is being careful however to not rush to any conclusions.
Aruba’s public prosecutor, Dorean Kardol, has dismissed the findings by claiming that the remains were from animals. It is unclear why his and Dr Kolowski’s findings are at odds, and also unknown what, if any, testing Aruban authorities have carried out to reach their conclusion.
He told the Huffington Post that ‘no human remains were found’ in the area Dave pointed out.
‘During an investigation by police in an area indicated by Mr. Holloway, we found remains, but they were found to be from animals,’ Kardol said.
Dave has long been a critic of the investigation into the disappearance of his daughter conducted by the Aruban authorities and slammed the prosecutor’s comments as ‘misleading’.
He maintains that they have the remains and have a report from the lab showing they are human.
A preview of the second episode of ‘The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway,’ which will air at 7pm on Saturday, reveals that viewers will now see the great lengths Gabriel had to go to in order to get his informant to repeat the story in a room wired with mics so that Natalee’s father Dave and private investigator TJ Ward could hear the admission for themselves.