Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

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Distant Shore

Natalee Holloway
Natalee Holloway

Eighteen-year-old college student, Natalee Holloway, had disappeared while visiting on a chaperoned post-graduation trip. From Mountain Brook, Alabama, near Birmingham, she was last seen on the Dutch-controlled Caribbean island of Aruba on May 30, 2005. More than 100 other students had come, so it was difficult to keep track of them all, and Natalee ended up on her last night at the tourist bar, "Carlos 'n' Charlie's" with three young men, Joran van der Sloot, and Satish and Deepak Kalpoe. Witnesses had seen them get into Deepak's car. During the evening, Natalee had reportedly acted rather wildly at the bar and she appeared to go willingly with the three men.

The next morning, Natalee did not arrive at the airport for her return flight home. Someone checked her rooms at the Marriott Hotel to see if she was there and found her clothing and personal items, packed in her luggage, as well as her cell phone and passport. The police checked footage from the hotel's security camera, but there was no indication that Natalee had even returned to the hotel the night before. Nevertheless, the three men she had been with, when questioned, insisted they had dropped her off near the hotel around 2:00 A.M., and she had been intoxicated. They had seen a black security guarded assisting her.

Reports of her disappearance were carried in papers all over the U.S. and the case was discussed on numerous talk shows. Natalee's stepfather and mother, George "Jug" and Beth Twitty, who flew immediately to the island, insisted that Natalee was a responsible, bright honor student who had been accepted into pre-med studies at the University of Alabama. She was not, as the papers painted her, a wild party girl. Searches were conducted and a great deal of publicity was brought to bear on the local authorities to find the girl, but she failed to turn up. The police went to the Aruban residence of the van der Sloots and interrogated the young men, who finally admitted they had taken the girl to a lighthouse to make out before dropping her off at her hotel. They insisted that they had not had sexual relations with her. And they were not the only suspects.

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