Jon has been a well-regarded and prolific internet poster on the Natalee Holloway case, primarily of Scrux.com. He has long been respected as perhaps this story's most thorough researcher and is a stickler for factual representation about the events that make up the case. He has also created what most observers agree is the most accurate timeline available as an internet resource. Here he presents his own opinions.
Is there "No Evidence of a Crime?"
It's certainly fair to say there is no physical evidence of a crime. But no evidence whatsoever? Here I must disagree with the title of this book- there is very compelling circumstantial evidence of a crime: The lies and conflicting stories by the last three persons seen with Natalee (especially those by Joran, the very last person seen with her), and the absence of a body.
How did the trio's lies hurt the investigation?
In any missing persons case, the two single most important pieces of information, are where was the person last seen, and with who.
Had Joran van der Sloot and the Kalpoes told the truth from the beginning instead of the Holiday Inn lie, that Joran and Natalee were actually dropped off at the beach north of the Marriott, at the Fisherman Huts, then ALE would have been concentrating their search in that area, two weeks earlier. Perhaps they might have found some physical evidence (such as Joran's shoes, Natalee's clothing, or forensic traces), before it was removed, or destroyed by the elements. They might have conducted a more timely search of dumpsters in the area. They could have interviewed witnesses who were on the beach that night while their memory was still fresh. They could have checked surveillance cameras which Joran might have passed if he walked home from the Marriott Beach, before the tapes were erased.
And having been told from the beginning that Natalee was last seen with Joran, once they began taking the case seriously, ALE's primary focus would immediately have been on Joran, rather than a nonexistent security guard. As a result, Joran might have been arrested at least a week earlier, possibly (if he is guilty) while he was less mentally prepared to withstand interrogation, or while he still expected Natalee's body might be found, or while he still had unhealed injuries from a struggle.
Did Natalee's family try to portray a "perfect" image of Natalie? Did they think that only a non-drinking, non partying young lady would be one that people would care enough about to look for?
I don't think it's fair to assume that Beth deliberately concealed Natalee's partying activities on Aruba. Parents don't always know everything their children are doing. According to Natalee's Mt. Brook classmates, Natalee was not typically a heavy drinker, and I doubt that when Beth first arrived in Aruba, she had any idea how much Natalee had been drinking there. I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't find out for weeks, or even months.
Furthermore, with respect to all exaggeration of Natalee's virtues by her family and friends, whether accidental or deliberate, it's important to remember the context. Natalee disappeared under circumstances- leaving a bar with male strangers- which would inevitably cause many people to immediately form certain negative assumptions about her character. With people asking "What kind of girl would get in a car with three boys she didn't know", it was only natural that her family and friends would feel the need to defend her. If they were somewhat overzealous in doing so, that was a mistake, but not one they deserve a lot of criticism for.
Also, if they were concerned that Natalee's image would effect how much people cared about the search for her, they were, unfortunately, correct. Compare Natalee's case with that of 17 year-old Taylor Behl. Taylor was also a telegenic "missing white woman", indeed one who was more attractive than Natalee, and who went missing at about the same time. But her disappearance was receiving less national media coverage at 3 weeks, than Natalee's did at 3 months.
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