An AMW Producer On The Search For Natalee Holloway
AMW correspondent Rick Segall talks with Natalee Holloway's father, Dave in Aruba.
AMW producer Rick Segall has been investigating the case of missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway. He recently spent a week in Aruba with Natalee's dad, Dave Holloway.
With so little communication and cooperation coming from the Aruban Police, Natalee's family and those trying to help them solve the case are forced to wander down whatever road presents itself. A case in point: The Dr. Phil scenario.
Ever since Dr. Phil announced on the Tonight Show last week that Natalee Holloway could be alive and part of the third-world sex slave trade, I get asked about it dozens of times a day. I've been booked onto talk shows and news programs to discuss it. After my trip to Aruba and my frequent discussions with Natalee's parents, people have the mistaken impression that my opinion matters on the subject. I can't talk as an expert on the material because I haven't seen Dr. Phil's evidence. But I can comment as a person who cares deeply about the fate of Natalee Holloway and members of her family.
I have no idea what information Dr. Phil has obtained about Natalee for his program. It just seemed cruel and exploitive to give Natalee Holloway's parents false hope based on such a seemingly ridiculous premise.
Speculating About Aruba's Underside
My first reaction: reprehensible. Perhaps it was Dr. Phil's lack of details. Or maybe it was the outlandish nature of the allegations. Or maybe it was the time and place it was announced. But the whole thing smacked of a ratings ploy during the all-important November ratings period -- when every television program pulls out the stops to draw in viewers. I have no idea what information Dr. Phil has obtained about Natalee for his program. It just seemed cruel and exploitive to give Natalee Holloway's parents false hope based on such a seemingly ridiculous premise. But after talking to Natalee's mother today, I am resigned to go down that path as well.
Natalee's mom, Beth Twitty, says it has been months since she's had the opportunity to search for Natalee with the assumption she's alive. Beth told me that, in her heart, she knows Natalee is probably gone. But if someone offers to send bounty hunters to a foreign land to search for your missing daughter in the hopes she is alive, would you turn down the opportunity? I don't think any of us would refuse the offer -- even if the offer was based on speculation. That speculation centers on the dark underside of Aruba. I heard rumors about much of it while in Aruba myself. Supposedly, Natalee innocently partied in a few clubs that are now known to have ties to the Chicago mob. And there are also rumors about underage prostitutes, sex rings and snuff films. I have no idea how much of that will play into Dr. Phil's upcoming show. We'll just have to wait to go down that road and pray that it sheds some light on Natalee's disappearance.
The Natalee Holloway Case »
The Search For Natalee Holloway: A Producer's Diary - Day 1 »
The Search For Natalee Holloway - A Producer's Diary - Day 2 »
The Search For Natalee Holloway: A Producer's Diary - Day 3 »
But the current road sign says "BOYCOTT." Natalee's mother has been threatening to call for a boycott of travel to Aruba if the investigation does not improve. After months of waiting, it will likely kick off tomorrow -- November 8th. I spoke to Dave Holloway about it again today. He is aware that a boycott will affect the Aruban people, not just the faceless "tourism industry." But he points out that the Aruban people have tolerated an inept police investigation and poor prosecution. He hopes the Aruban people, not just Natalee's family, will demand change and answers if the island is facing economic disaster. We can keep our fingers crossed. I just want to see the investigation move forward and Natalee's family get the answers they desperately need.
In the meantime, I'll keep my eyes open for any other paths worth taking in the Natalee Holloway investigation.