BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The father of missing Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway is asking a court to declare his daughter dead six years after she vanished during a graduation trip to Aruba.

Dave Holloway filed the request in Birmingham earlier this summer, but court officials said Wednesday it could be months before any decision is reached.

Holloway writes that it’s his “painful” belief that his daughter is dead and recounts the years spent investigating her baffling disappearance in 2005. He says there’s no evidence to suggest Natalee is still alive and asks a Jefferson County probate judge to issue an order saying she is presumed dead.

A hearing is set for Sept. 23, but officials say court requirements mean it could be after the first of the year before a final decision is issued.

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