Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Inside the Mind of Joran van der Sloot

Genesis of a Media Frenzy

Beth Twitty
Beth Twitty

Thousands of media outlets began following Holloway's disappearance when her mother, Beth Twitty, along with a small army of private detectives and friends, began their hunt for her. As previously reported on truTV, Joran repeatedly changed his story about his activities with Natalee on the evening of May 29, 2005, reshaping his version of the events over and over again, at first seemingly to avoid arrest and prosecution, but later apparently to gain notoriety and money from those who would pay to listen.

While always admitting that he met Natalee at Carlos'n Charlie's bar, he first told Twitty that her daughter had oral sex with him in a car while driving around the island with his friends, brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe. He claimed to have seen two hotel security guards speaking with Natalee at the Holiday Inn where they dropped her off, resulting in their arrest, although they were released just a few days later.

From left to right: Satish Kalpoe, Joran van der Sloot and Deepak Kalpoe. Inset: Natalee Holloway
From left to right: Satish Kalpoe, Joran
van der Sloot and Deepak Kalpoe. Inset:
Natalee Holloway

Joran, the Kalpoe brothers, and even Joran's father were all arrested during the next few days. After questioning, Joran's father was released a few days later. Joran then changed his story, telling police he had sucked rum from Natalee's navel as she lay on the bar at Carlos'n Charlie's that night before Deepak drove them near the beach. Once on the beach, Joran claimed, he refused to have sex with Natalee because he did not have a condom, and called Deepak with his cell phone to pick him up. He said he left Natalee staring into the sea as he and Deepak drove off in Deepak's Honda.

Why did he lie to Twitty, leading to the arrest of three innocent men who risked charges of murder and kidnapping, before changing his story? "I didn't want anyone to know," he told ABC News. "I didn't want anyone to know I left her at the beach. I lied because, yeah, I was scared. I had a girlfriend at the time. I didn't want my dad to think bad of me. I didn't want my friends to think bad of me."

Despite the different versions of what happened in the early-morning hours of May 30, it was widely reported that a few hours after Joran claims to have left Natalee, he returned home, turned on his computer at 3:25 a.m., browsed soccer scores at ESPN.com, checked his email, and visited porn sites for about an hour. Joran then took the bus to school at 6:40 AM.

Despite Joran's suspicious behavior on the night of Natalee's disappearance, his status as the last known person to see her that night, his allegedly violent past, and Natalee's mother's tireless campaign to prompt Aruban authorities to find her daughter, Aruban authorities released van der Sloot on September 3 and the Kalpoe brothers the following day without a single indictment. Since then, the Kalpoe brothers have denied any involvement in Natalee's disappearance.

Patrick van der Eem
Patrick van der Eem

"It was the good-ol'-boy system,' E.E. Byars, the co-author of Overboard, in which Patrick van der Eem recounted his drug and gambling experiences with van der Sloot in Holland, told truTV. "They thought they were taking care of one of their own, but it got bigger than they thought it would. They just didn't realize how tenacious Beth Twitty was and how well she would work the media."

For many, it seemed Joran in all likelihood got away with murder, and they felt that he apparently felt little or no shame for any involvement in cutting the young and promising life of Natalee short. Many of his detractors also believe that the incident seemed to have fed his already oversized ego, making him think he was invincible after outmaneuvering authorities.

"Something in him snapped," Byars told truTV. "He probably then felt like nothing could stop him."

 

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