March 12, 2009


Kaitlyn Tucker
Staff Writer

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009

There were few dry eyes in the Bologna Performing Arts Center Tuesday by the time Beth Holloway concluded her presentation.

Holloway came to Delta State University to speak to college students, high school juniors and seniors, as well as parents, about travel safety.

Her story is a familiar one to most in the audience.

On May 30, 2005, her daughter, Natalee, went missing during a graduation trip to Aruba. “She didn’t get to go to college like she planned,” said Holloway. “She didn’t get to do any of the things she’d planned. She was kidnapped, raped and murdered on the last night of her vacation.”

Natalee’s friends reported the 18-year-old missing after she did not return to their hotel or show up to the airport on their last day in Aruba.

“We discussed certain safety issues before she left,” Holloway remembered. “I told her to watch out for herself at the night clubs they’d be going to. Four days later, my cell phone rang. “It was a number I didn’t recognize,” continued Holloway. “Her friends had called to say that no one had seen her.

“I had to find out what happened.”

Holloway flew to Aruba and launched a search for her missing daughter. She arrived at the same hotel where Natalee and her high school friends had stayed. “We found her clothes packed neatly, her passport, her cell phone,” said Holloway. “She was all set to come home.”

For the next week, Holloway searched for her daughter without eating, sleeping or bathing.
After a whirlwind week of putting up fliers, searching through brothels and crack houses and trying to discover what had happened to Natalee, Holloway was dealt a blow.

“On the fourth morning, we got back to the hotel in the wee hours of the morning,” said Holloway. “There was a knock on our door. It was one of the hotel employees telling us the security tapes were ready.”

Holloway entered a room lined with Aruban police officers and sat down to watch the tapes from the hotel lobby from the night Natalee disappeared. Holloway and the investigators had been told that Juran Van der Sloot and two of his friends dropped Natalee off at the hotel.

Natalee never walked through the door.

“After being numb for days, there was pain,” Holloway said.

Holloway had known 17-year-old Van der Sloot was one of the last people to see Natalee. She had confronted him early on in the investigation.

“He bought drinks for her,” Holloway said. “He graphically described the sexual acts he did with her as she fell asleep and woke back up. He described Natalee getting out of the car, stumbling and bumping her head going in to the hotel.”

Nearly three years later, Van der Sloot confessed to the crimes while in a taxicab. A Dutch crime reporter named Peter De Vries had a hidden camera set up in the vehicle and the confession was caught on tape.

“He said that she had a seizure,” said Holloway. “He said that he didn’t know what to do and wasn’t sure if she was alive or not. “He arranged someone to take her body out to sea,” Holloway continued. “I believe a date rape drug was used and Natalee overdosed.

“Aruban authorities will not take action against (Van der Sloot), a judge’s son.”

Holloway’s own experiences have lead her to teach travel safety and education to young people across 25 states. “I think it’s the best way to remember Natalee,” she said. “The best thing I can ask is that you initiate a full circle safety plan.

“You are the only one who can save yourself,” continued Holloway. “Thoroughly prepare before you leave. Get educated about where you’re going.”

Holloway suggested learning basic laws of any country you’re visiting, as well as locations and phone numbers for the American Consulate and police precincts. “Activate international calling,” said Holloway, remembering Natalee’s cell phone laying in her hotel room. She had left it because she did not have international calling.

“Never tell anyone what day you’re leaving,” continued Holloway. “The entire island knew it was Mountain Brook High School’s last night.”

Holloway noted that in some tourist locations, like Aruba, visitors are likely to get taken advantage of on their last day. “If they know when you leave, they know you have a plane to catch and will be less likely to file a report,” explained Holloway.

“No matter what, personal safety is up to you,” Holloway continued. “Create a plan and take it full circle.”

The evening ended with a video tribute to Natalee.


Anonymous said...

Professor Juan Gabriel Tokatlián claims that banks not only profit from illegal drug money, it actually enables them to survive the financial crisis. That's what Aruba doing right now. The white Dutch Aruban elite have plenty of illegal drug and sex slave money to import expensive food and liquors for their hotel resorts consumption. The poor umemployed black Arubans are in starvation. The Aruban government strongly deny that they have anything to do with Natalee's disappearance. They said they will turn away all the unruly American student tourists. The Aruban 90,000 club only welcome wealthy mature American tourists.

Anonymous said...

There are no black actors in the Aruba 90,000 club show video tv commercial. That's the biggest mistake that Aruba ever made. That reveals Aruba is a discriminatory and lawless subculture.

Anonymous said...

Delta State University is a "Ivy League" highest learning institution in Deep South. Beth's speech there will politically help the ArubanBoycott grassroot movement.

Anonymous said...

"To put it as simply as possible, with Iran as our new friend, buying our oil refinery, we would like to get rid of the Dutch as soon as possible, and gain our independence," said Franklin Oduber, the de facto spokesman for the Aruban Government and brother of the Prime Minister Nelson Oduber.

Anonymous said...

Hillary thinks that the people who the boycott supporters want to punish are the elected officials and members of the Aruban law enforcement. However, it is the common man who will be hurt the most. The police officers willkeep their jobs and many of the elected officials are independently wealthy. The people who would suffer are the ones who work in hotels and the service industry. If people refuse to go to Aruba, the first people to lose their jobs are the poor. Crippling the island's economy is not the answer. Hillary wants people to stop boycotting Aruba.

Anonymous said...

The most effective way to hurt Aruba would be to target their tourist business. 75% of Aruba tourism is American. The ArubanBoycott has just accomplished in bringing Aruba's spring break tourists count down to its knees, Aruba lost 69% of tourists as compared to May 2005.

Anonymous said...

Aruba's Hooiberg volcano is about to explode under the pressure of the ArubanBoycott strength. The UN trade commissioner pleads the gressroot movement leader Michelle to slow down her attack to spare Aruba.

Anonymous said...

For the first 3 nights we stayed at the Marriott Surf Club in Palm Beach. As soon as we walked into the room we could easily hear the kids in the next room making noise and the parents speaking in a normal tone. So please note the paper thin walls if you decide to stay or purchase a timeshare. In addition to this the room (ocean view) was VERY small and not very well appointed. It lacked all the normal amenities normally provided by a hotel, like ANY SERVICE AT ALL. They are inferior and poor workmanship. These timeshares are some kind of Ponz scheme investment intended to fool the Americans. The Arubans are not honest merchants!

Anonymous said...

New rules for investment of development aid
Published: Thursday 12 March 2009 19:32 UTC
Last updated: Thursday 12 March 2009 19:32 UTC
Development Minister Bert Koenders and Foreign Trade Minister Frank Heemskerk have adjusted the rules for the investment of Dutch development aid in poor countries. At present, developing countries receive funds for investments in their infrastructure on condition the projects are carried out by Dutch companies. This condition has now been dropped, but Dutch companies must be given a fair chance at winning orders.

The adjustment had already been announced in the coalition agreement. Minister Koenders said he would raise the programme's budget from 140 to 180 million euros

Oduber wants to award the government contracts to VEB and his family owned construction business. So there is a conflict of interests there. Aruba is considered a third world poor country.

Anonymous said...

Hans Mos will leave Aruba on June 1, 2009. Oduber asked Rudy to order Mos to erase all the emails, downloads and images relating to the Natalee case before he left for Hague for his retirement. Natalee case will officially closed and lockdown after June 1, 2009. And Joran will be allowed to return his own country Aruba to complete his high school diploma.

Anonymous said...

The condamnation upon Aruba is such that Oduber and Joran both have no shame and guilt in them of their rape and murder of Natalee Holloway.

Anonymous said...

Good get Michelle

Anonymous said...

Absolutely ridiculous!! What happened could have happened anywhere including the US. In fact it does happen here in the US all the time. Beth Holloway is now preaching about what kids need to know before international travel. Anyone with common sense wouldn't get in the car with 3 complete strangers regardless of whether they were in a foreign country or not. What happened is tragic but let's not blow it out of proportion and make people think they have to fear for their lives every time they leave the US. I have been to Aruba several times and never encountered any problems.