September 12, 2006


(Source)--The mother of a missing Alabama teenager gave hundreds of District 70 students a heart-to-heart talk on staying safe as part of her nationwide campaign to promote safety when traveling abroad.

"What I need you to remember is that you could be Natalee and I could be your parent," Beth Twitty told the seniors from Pueblo West, Rye and the Technical Academy who gathered in the Pueblo West gymnasium to hear her 45-minute presentation, "Save Yourself." Her daughter, Natalee Holloway, has been missing for 16 months since she and classmates took their senior trip to the Caribbean island, Aruba.

Twitty later spoke Monday night at Colorado State University-Pueblo. Her Pueblo appearance was sponsored by the Pueblo County Sheriff's Department. "I never imagined I would be traveling around the country telling the story of how my daughter was kidnapped, raped and most likely murdered on her senior trip to Aruba," Twitty told the attentive high school crowd. "But here I am."

Twitty has been traveling throughout the U.S. speaking to high school and college students as part of her recently founded International Safe Travel Foundation. At Pueblo West, Twitty told the students of the nightmare she has been living since her daughter Natalee went missing on May 30, 2005, in Aruba.

Twitty, who identified herself as "Natalee's mother," backed up her powerful talk with slides of Natalee, including some from her graduation, and other pictures of locations she has visited in Aruba in search of answers to her daughter's disappearance. Twitty began her talk by discussing how most parents teach their kids at an early age things to do to keep them safe.

"We don't do this to make you live in fear, but because we know the world is not safe," she said. Twitty then went on to talk about how excited Natalee was to be going on the senior trip to Aruba. "On May 26, I drove her to the airport to take the long-awaited trip to Aruba," she said. "I kissed her goodbye and that was the last time I saw her." Twitty then went on to say that on Memorial Day, she received the call that has changed her life forever when she was told that Natalee missed the flight back home to Alabama. "In an instant I knew something happened," she said.

Twitty chronicled the family's quest to not only locate Natalee but also find answers to what happened to her. Twitty talked of the frustration in dealing with Aruban police to try to get the true story of where Natalee was during her last night in Aruba. Then Twitty offered her best motherly advice by giving students tips to help prevent them from facing the same fate as Natalee. She urged students to develop a safety plan and remember they ultimately are responsible for their own safety.

"Once Natalee got into that car, she was at the mercy of her abductors and couldn't save herself," Twitty said. "She never saw this coming. She was blindsided and never had a chance with her perpetrators."

Twitty offered simple safety tips that often are taught to younger children but apply to young adults as well. Among them were to never go anywhere alone. Don't allow yourself to get into a situation you cannot control and never leave a drink unattended. Finally, she encouraged students to learn about the laws and customs of other countries before visiting them." You do need to remember that when you leave our borders, you leave behind all customs and rights that we are all accustom to," she said.

"It's one thing to be lost in the United States, but more devastating to be lost outside of the United States," she said. Twitty encouraged the students to visit her Web site at to learn other rules in staying safe abroad and at home.

As a daily reminder to students, Twitty gave each in attendance a sticker with the words "Safe Travels" to place on the rearview mirrors of their cars or other locations they frequently see. "I can't save Natalee; it's too late," she said. "But it's not too late for you and it's not too late for your parents."

Twitty's talk had an impact on at least three Pueblo West seniors. "It makes you realize how much you really have to be careful and that you can't trust just anyone out there," said Danielle Vincent. Ashley Maroney said she took to heart what Twitty had to say, especially since she is planning a trip to South Africa after she graduates in May. "It makes me not want to be left anywhere alone," she said. "I'm definitely going to get online and find out more about South Africa. I want to make sure I have a safe trip."

Although many students may have thought that Twitty's presentation was geared more toward females, Kevin Sumald said she gave tips that could benefit anyone. "I guess the big thing I heard was that you have to watch out for yourself," he said. "Don't ever let your guard down."


Anonymous said...

God Bless Beth.

She is a fighter. She is fighting for her daughter with all her being! She's not out taking trips for fun like some I know. She's looking for her daughter to bring her home.

May God give her strength to continue!

Anonymous said...

70 students and all there family and friends not going to Aruba works for me. Keep hitting all the schools Beth. Get the word out. Aruba is unsafe and corrupt