Beth Twitty, Natalee's mother, publicily criticised the Aruban authorities for releasing the Kalpoe brothers, calling them criminals who should be behind bars. She and her husband later apologized but their comments damaged the relationship between them and the Aruban officials who attributed much of the Twitty's impatience and frustration on a lack of understanding of Dutch judicial procedures.
Aruban law and legal procedures are not clearly understood by the US media and attorneys who appear as guests on TV to discuss the case. US government figures have have pressured on Aruban authorities to accept more assistance from the FBI which had been on the island from the beginning as consultants.
Natalee's mother, father, step-father, step-mother and aunt have all been interviewed. Natalee's parents give frequent press conferences, detailing their frustration with the pace of the investigation and their continued hopes that Natalee will be found alive. The reward, contributed by the Aruban government, Carlos'n'Charlie's Restaurant, Holloway's family and friends, and from other private donations, for Natalee's safe return has steadily increased. The Van Der Sloots and the Kalpoe brother's mother have also been interviewed and protest their sons innocence, despite the young men's changing stories.
In the early days of the investigation, the entire island was involved in the search for Natalee. During the two months since Natalee's vanishing, scuba divers, the Dutch Air Force, members of the Dutch armed forces stationed on the island and hundreds of volunteers have joined the search. Early on, rumors suggested that Natalee might have been taken off the island to be forced into white slavery in Venezuela as has been speculated in an earlier disappearance of another attractive American girl, Amy Bradley. Were Natalee Holloway and Amy Bradley victims of the same white slavery ring? The proximity of Aruba and Venezuela makes boat trips between the two countries, and nearby Colombia, an easy matter. Orient yourself with this interactive map from Expedia.
Throughout the investigation, Natalee's mother, Beth Twitty, has been a constant fount of strength and inspiration. Whatever the outcome of the investigation, no one can fault her for her loyalty and devotion to her daughter. She's stayed on Aruba and has vowed to stay on until her daughter is returned. On July 22, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a resolution asking Alabama residents not to visit Aruba until the case is resolved.
As much as we admire Natalee's family in their search for her, we have to wonder, would all this media attention, the huge cost of rescue efforts and the international curiosity about Natalee's disappearance be afforded any other missing person?
Or does the fact that Natalee, a blonde, attractive young woman with above average looks and intelligence, a media-smart and affluent family, enjoying privileges others might not have, influence the attention paid to this case? Many seem to think so and resent the full-blown scrutiny to this case and the lack of attention paid to other missing people.
Even as the stories and tips about her disappearance change, we wonder about Natalee's last known activities. She was with a large group of students and chaperones on a non-school supported trip. She was supposed to leave with her group on May 31. She was last seen at a nightclub known for its partying.
Like many other parents, I wonder: what was an 18 year old doing at a nightclub in the company of other under-age people? And so late? Drinking perhaps to excess? Where were the chaperones?
And why did she get into a car with three young men she'd met only days before? What happened to her on the beach near the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino where she was staying. Enjoy these photos of the Marriott and area to see what Natalee might have enjoyed during her a five-day vacation to Aruba.
My heart goes out to her family and loved ones. At the time of this writing, even with a search of a landfill and a pond, Natalee has not been found. I sympathize with the agonizing wait and grief her family is experiencing. I can only hope, against hope, that the outcome of the search will be positive.
In addition to concerns about Natalee's huge media coverage, there is also the question of unprecedented US FBI intervention or involvement in the legal and investigative procedures of another country.
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