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Natalee Holloway


Aruba closes case on Natalee Holloway

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Hazel Heyer  Dec 20, 2007

(eTN) - On the phone yesterday morning to Beth Twitty, mother of Natalee Holloway, eTurbo News did not get much of a reaction. Twitty is obviously still shaken by the end of further investigations into her daughter’s disappearance in the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba since May 2005. Authorities have closed the case saying on Tuesday they do not have evidence to charge anyone.

Twitty apologized said she’s not granting any interviews at present. “I would love it when the time is right. Not right now,” said the mom who grieves the loss of her daughter on the tourist island.

It’s now over for the trio of suspects who were called back in for interrogation. Three young men--Joran van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers, Satish and Deepak, who were last seen with the Alabama teenager, have all been notified by the public prosecutor that they will not be charged. "The public prosecutor's office and the police have gone the extra mile and have exhausted all their powers and techniques in order to solve the mystery of the disappearance of the girl," it said, presenting transcripts of online chat sessions that the suspects had with friends as new evidence.

In their statement, Aruba prosecutors said they still believe the three were involved in the disappearance, but cannot prove a crime was committed because Holloway's body was never recovered.

America’s Most Wanted senior correspondent Tom Morris Jr., who has followed the case, thinks the prosecutor’s decision not to bring charges to the men is a clear indication they’ve never been able to bring enough evidence to have a case against them. He said, “They’ve hung together incredibly tight and tough. Without a body, the prosecutor was over his bounds from the very beginning.”

Van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers were seen leaving the Oranjestad bar Carlos n’ Charlie’s with Holloway the night she disappeared. Police re-arrested them last month in a last-ditch effort to solve the case, but prosecutors said the men did not provide any new information under interrogation. eTurbo News called the bar to get some comments, but managers refused to talk.

Cost estimates for the case had reached millions of dollars. Police, judicial officials, volunteers, divers, search and rescue teams, dogs, Dutch marines and even F-16 aircrafts with special electronic device had already searched every inch of the island. One pond was drained and divers have searched the ocean. Investigations remained on the case for two years with some major police resources dedicated to rest the case. The government has permitted free access to the island by search parties organized by the family and cooperated with consultants and experts hired by the Holloway's. Still nothing turned up.

On the Dutch legal system being different from the United States’, Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, secretary-general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, said: “Different jurisdictions have different laws and different ways of approaching investigations. Unfortunately, the conversations taking place on American television compares the Dutch laws with the laws of the United States.”

A few days before the announcement on slamming the doors on this case, Jossy Mansour, Aruba’s El Diario managing editor, said on ScaredMonkeys.com: “I have the same dilemma of belief in the prosecution. I don’t know how (prosecutor) Hans Moss could risk re-arresting the three suspects, give such confident interviews, speak with so much determination about his new evidence, and then suddenly is willing to throw in the towel and put an end to his resolve. Was it just a show, a public exhibition of ‘we did everything that we could, but at the end couldn’t,’ prior to closing the case and attempt in the process to put up a front of ‘good intentions’ and nothing else? It seems so from this new perspective that he himself has created.”

But, Morris said, “The American justice system is not perfect either. There are lots of unsolved crimes in America. The fact that such high-profile case involving a tourist has not been solved does not mean the island is not safe anymore than any other place in America. Not every crime can be solved.” Unfortunately, without a crime scene, a body, an eye witness, or a confession, there is really no way to solve the case, he said, adding, “Without these four elements, it is almost impossible to solve a crime.”

Other Arubans refrain from commenting even on the tourism business sidelines. Restaurant-owner Robby Peterson of Pincho’s said:” I cannot measure any effect on our business or tourism due to this case. I don’t know how many people are coming on the island to support any claim on Holloway.” He recommended running after the people on the tourism board or hotel association who could not be reached for comments. Even Tourism Minister Edison Briesen was unavailable for comments, throughout the day and week when this case was slowly brewing. But the CTO chair said there is no way to gauge the repercussion to tourism business. They are aware the number of people who continue to travel to Aruba respect and understand the nature of the island. He added they have not seen any major drops in traffic.

“Nobody in the Aruban government is covering-up or hiding any official aspect of this. It does not make any sense to put pressure on their side of the economy just to save the suspects,” said Vanderpool-Wallace, adding they fully reject suggestions from the press alluding to a local conspiracy on keeping things off the investigation. He said, “The Arubans and I want to know what has happened to Natalee Holloway in order to put this matter completely behind us. We also would like to see justice served to eliminate all this as soon as possible.”

Tourism should not be held accountable for the mishap. Vanderpool-Wallace said, “It’s just a tragic outcome. But if you’d look at the number of people missing in the state of Alabama alone, this number is quite high. In a place with a reputation for being one of the safest places on earth, such as Aruba, this is just one incident.”

Expect the unexpected, if you are a tourist. “If tourists get killed and robbed wherever they are, crimes of opportunity happen whenever they do. One murder does not ruin the entire economy or desirability of going to Aruba. It is already trouble for the Holloway’s as much as it is for the people of Aruba. I don’t think the tragedy should taint the image of the Caribbean island,” closed Morris.

Aruba closes case on Natalee Holloway
Last photo taken of Natalee Holloway before her disappearance.Photo Credit: CBS's "48 Hours Mystery"



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