Does anybody think that the Natalee Holloway (search) story is going to turn out like Elizabeth Smart? (search)

Smart was missing for so long that people logically concluded she might have been killed. But then it turned out different.

She was being held by a nut job who lived in a tent in the hills and was preparing her to be his next wife — he already had one, who was also a nut job herself.

Pardon me, but I don't think that's what's going on here. I even read between the lines of interviews with Natalee's family and I think they also don't think that's what's going on here. But Natalee's family rightfully wants to know what did happen. And they rightfully would like to take her home.

So now the discussion is about whether the Van der Sloots (search) are holding something back, something they know.

In Wednesday's news conference for the little boy who got lost in Utah — and then was found — his mother, Jody Hawkins (search), said something that might illuminate what is going on the minds of the Holloway family.

Jody Hawkins was explaining what she was worried about when her 11-year-old son was missing and she said there are some things worse than death. That kind of jumps out at you: What's worth than death? Mountain lions eating you alive? People stealing you and taking you away to some dark life as a prisoner? And, in Natalee's case, the persistent rumors that girls are kidnapped and taken to brothels as sex slaves, essentially, then later killed to cover the crime.

There are lots of things are worse than death. The drama with Natalee is about her family's attempt find out what happened, to find her and to discover that she did not suffer a fate worse than death.

That's My Word.

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