Natalee Holloway was declared legally dead Thursday by a judge in her home state of Alabama. She mysteriously vanished in Aruba more than six years ago.
Probate judge Alan King made the ruling at the request of Holloway's father.
While her body was never found, Dave Holloway met a legal presumption of death for his daughter, according to King, who had set Thursday as the deadline for anyone to come forward and prove she didn't die on the Caribbean island.
With no evidence to the contrary, Natalee Holloway is legally deceased.
The ruling comes just one day after longtime suspect Joran van der Sloot pleaded guilty to the murder of another woman, Stephany Flores, in Peru.
Van der Sloot's lawyer said the 24-year-old killed Flores in 2010 due to "extreme psychological trauma" he experienced in the Holloway investigation.
Beth Holloway, Natalee's mother and Dave's ex-wife, opposed the request, in part because she held out a sliver of hope and also to lead by example.
"Her life's commitment now is working with other families with missing family members," her lawyer said. "She would lose her credibility with them if she were to give up hope."
"How could she tell them not to give up hope if she did, for her own daughter?"