Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paradise Lost: The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway

The Blame Game

"They have really had just such a botched investigation from the beginning," Beth Twitty said during one of her countless cable news interviews, this one with CNN Headline News's Nancy Grace. "And whether that was due to incompetence or corruption or cover-up, I mean, we don't know."

It's that attitude, that some have described as condescending and stereotypically "ugly American," that has alienated Beth from nearly all of her contacts on Aruba, many of whom had once given her their unrestrained support.

In the early days of the investigation, Natalee's family and friends who had come to Aruba the same day she was reported missing, leaned heavily on a small cadre of sympathetic islanders. Among them were the editor and a reporter from the English-language newspaper Aruba Today.

Julia Renfro
Julia Renfro

The day after Natalee disappeared, the newspaper's editor, a 37-year-old expatriate American named Julia Renfro, ran a front page picture of the missing Alabama teen. Every morning for two weeks Renfro and her reporter, another American named Angela Munzenhofer, organized search parties and scoured the island for any clue as to Natalee's whereabouts.

But Beth's nightly appearances on the cable TV shows soon soured her relationship with her new Aruban supporters. According to Renfro and Munzenhofer, although Beth was friendly to them in person, on the cable talk shows she displayed a far different, meaner side of her personality, and spent most of her time bashing the island and all of its inhabitants.

"That's how she is," one Aruba Today reporter told Vanity Fair. "She's a two-faced woman."

The Aruban reporters didn't like much of what Beth was saying on the cable shows, particularly when it came to her allegations of corruption and cover up on the island.

"We met Beth that first day, and Beth was like glue to us for about a month," Munzenhofer told Vanity Fair. "But then we just had to let her go, because I did not agree with what she was saying. She was lying. She got caught in too many lies."

Renfro said the relationship between the newspaper people and the Twittys got so strained that Jug Twitty verbally and physically attacked her in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel the day after Renfro appeared on Fox News's program On The Record with Greta Van Susteren.

Renfro was so shaken by the incident that she filed a complaint with the Aruban police. Jug Twitty reportedly acknowledged cursing at Renfro but denies any physical contact.

According to the magazine, the newsroom at Aruba Today eventually became a hub for Beth bashing.

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