Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Second Wind

Until Joran van der Sloot's recent visit to New York to tape a television interview, public interest in the Holloway case was waning. The investigation into Natalee's disappearance seemed to have stalled, and the search for her remains appeared abandoned. Suddenly the missing Alabama teen's parents, Beth Twitty and Dave Holloway, filed suit against the Dutch student and his father, Paulus van der Sloot, Joran began hitting the airwaves with self-serving interviews, and the lead investigator, Gerold Dompig, opened up to CBS's Troy Roberts. Now come reports of a new search using cadaver dogs and ground penetrating radar [second link to CBS report], along with the revelation of a new potential witness and the dubious prospect of a trial of one or more of the three prime suspects -- Joran van der Sloot and brothers, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe -- this summer. The latest out of Aruba is the plan for a television call-in show (in the manner of America's Most Wanted) to gather tips from the public. Dompig characterizes this the "critical last phase" of the investigation. How desperate are they to bring an end to this saga? Perhaps, some would characterize it as determination, but it doesn't read that way to me.

Clint Van Zandt provides astute observations on recent developments in a recent MSNBC commentary article. He concludes with two questions for case watchers:

  1. How do you think this crime (or case) can be solved?
  2. What do you think happened to Natalee Holloway?
I have a few more specific questions:
  • Do you believe that Natalee was drugged in order that she might be taken advantage of, or was her state of intoxication a result of her own reckless behavior?
  • Joran claims that they drove to his family's home at Natalee's request, but abruptly decided not to go in because his father and brothers were sleeping. What is your opinion of this statement?
  • According to Joran, Natalee wanted to go to the lighthouse to see sharks, but they never went to the lighthouse, opting instead to take a walk on the beach. The Kalpoe brothers state that they did drive to the lighthouse, but no one got out of the car; they subsequently dropped Joran and Natalee off at the beach near the Marriott. Do you believe there is any truth to either one of these stories.
  • Beth Twitty claims to have translated documents that detail Joran's description of a sexual assault on Nataleea as she drifted in and out of consciousness. Chief Dompig denies that any such documents exist. Joran now insists that Natalee was in full control of her faculties throughout their time together and he never touched her against her will. What do you make of these varied reports?
  • Joran claims to have abandoned his shoes (along with Natalee) on the beach. What do you think really happened to his shoes?
  • In an earlier account, Joran declared that Deepak had picked him up at the beach and driven him home that night. More recently, he explained that Satish picked him up instead because Deepak was busy on the computer. However, the Kalpoe brothers insist that neither of them gave Joran a ride home; Deepak was chatting online while Satish had gone to bed upon arriving home at approximately 1:45-2:00 am. They suggest that Joran walked home. Whose account is closer to the truth?
  • Do you believe that one or more of the prime suspects participated in the concealment or disposal of Natalee's body, or did Natalee fall into the hands of another culprit after Joran left her alone?
I'm really interested in your responses to these questions. If you have a theory about any aspect of Natalee's disappearance, I hope you'll share it in the comment section.


Joran's most recent interview was given to a Dutch publication. He made what I consider an intriguing comment:

Van der Sloot said he decided to abandon Holloway at the beach despite her insistence that he stay to talk and look at stars.

"Everything had to be her way. At that moment, I thought: 'We're not going to have sex. I have exams tomorrow and I just want to go home, forget her.'"

Maybe I'm reading too much between the lines, but I detect a marked contemporaneous hostility toward Natalee in his remarks.