Skip to comments.Mountain Brook girl disappears during senior trip to Aruba
Posted on 06/02/2005 8:02:49 AM PDT by SamFromLivingston
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) FBI and Aruban officials said Wednesday that they had flew clues to the whereabouts of a Mountain Brook High School graduate who disappeared during a senior trip to the island.
FBI officials in the Caribbean were coordinating with Aruban police and Dutch authorities, who oversee Aruba, to search for Natalee Holloway, 18, The Birmingham News reported.
Holloway joined about 125 graduating seniors and adults on the five-day trip, which is an annual tradition not sponsored by the school. Other students said she never showed up for the group's return flight Monday.
"We went to check in for our airplane, and she wasn't there, and she's been missing since then," said Jay Weinacker, a member of Holloway's graduating class.
Holloway's parents, David Holloway, of Meridian, Miss., and Beth Holloway Twitty of Mountain Brook, and several family members traveled to Aruba to aid the search, said Robin Holloway, the girl's stepmother.
"It is torture," Robin Holloway said. "It is just agony."
Aruban police said Wednesday that they had questioned and released three local men who said they dropped the teenager off at her hotel late Sunday night. Officials said the girl's parents were unable to spot her on a hotel surveillance tape.
Officials said there were few leads on Natalee's whereabouts.
After hearing of her disappearance, Robin Holloway said her husband felt compelled to search for his daughter.
"We can't just sit here and do nothing," she said. "We don't know if she is still in Aruba ... or she's been kidnapped. We just don't know anything."
Officials at Mountain Brook Community Church said more than 150 people participated Tuesday in a prayer service for Holloway.
"Word just kind of got out, and parents and students just really wanted to get together and have a little prayer service for the whole situation," said Troy Gambrell, an associate in the youth ministry.
Right.... exactly my sentiments. What were these parents thinking?
Have you ever been to Aruba? We own a timeshare there, have spent a lot of time in the "interior" and find it hard to compare it to Mogadishu.
Matter of fact, street crime is virtually non-existent in Aruba for a variety of reasons, mostly economic and a high educational standard thanks to the Dutch government.
There is a max security prison on the far side of the island where most of the inmates are captured drug-smugglers from Columbia and Venezuela.
Ordinary Aruban people are some of the most pleasant and friendly people you'll ever meet, and I don't mean just at the beaches.
My husband and I had been considering taking a trip to Aruba. If the law enforecement/security situation is as bad as it sounds on this thread, I guess we'll go somewhere else.
Now it's possible she didn't voluntarily get in the car. Perhaps she was being abducted.
But what is a high school girl doing in a nightclub in Aruba in the first place?
In my area we had a similar incident -- a local high school cheerleader was on a class trip to Hawaii to participate in a cheerleading tournament.
She went partying, got drunk, and was last seen going off with two men.
She then plunged to her death from a hotel balcony. The two men were found sleeping off their hangovers in the room from which she fell.
some because of lax parenting.
And why was she off alone and not with a chaperone who knew and controlled their whereabouts? At least, why wasn't she with other young people of her group?
I've been to many foreign lands by myself. When I was in High School my French class went to France. I was 17 at the time. I turned 18 while I was there. We had chaperones and we stayed in a group. However, traveling abroad is not the issue here. The issue is whether or not she ran away on her own, or by force.
I read about that story. These stories are awful. The parents will live with their decisions forever. But, you can't totally "protect' kids from doing stupid things.
That's what I was responding to.
And I agree, their lives were changed for the better, no doubt in my mind. But it wasn't pride that they received. It instilled a sense of purpose and service in them. And it showed them first hand how most of the world lives. They appreciate their own situation in a profoundly different way when they return. They also have an understanding of what God expects of them in regards to other people.
And yes, my wife and I were worried, but some trips are worth the risk.
You're correct about the north coast. Still, I've driven all around Aruba and I think the earlier description of it as a "Mogadishu war zone" is a little extreme.
Like virtually all Caribbean Islands, there are beautiful resorts on the beaches and a lot of poverty in the interiors.
The government knows where their bread is buttered. They come down really hard on any locals who present problems to tourists.
Plus, the people are just naturally extremely friendly and warm-natured.
I agree. I've been to Aruba and it's beautiful. The people there are very nice. It's just very sad that this girl is missing. I pray for her safe returm.
Good point. . what was she doing going off with no friends into the dark with some locals. . .no judgment, bad judgment. . .whatever.
They used her and took her for an over the horizon boat ride.........she's toast IMO.
Because at 18 years old she is an adult. Because at 18 years old she ought to be able to take care of herself, and if she can't, then its because mommy and daddy haven't done their jobs. If parents stopped trying to control every aspect of their children's lives, then maybe 18 year old adults wouldn't need mommy and daddy watching over them.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Aruba. The resort beaches are wonderful, the people were nice, the weather is not to be believed it's so perfect ALL the time. (Just no need to tour the north side of the island unless you like dust and volcanic caves.)
I agree that's the main question.
However, I'm also interested in the parents' reasoning. The article said this is an annual trip made by students and adults in their community. It seems very improbable that it's a one-time, unexpected fluke for this girl to have been in a nightclub unchaperoned. That is, I expect it's understood by the students and adults involved that the students are pretty much going to run around on their own.
If the families think this is okay, that's their business ... but I don't consider it responsible parenting, even if the girl is a legal adult.