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We got "stiffed" by three guests last night: Steve Croes (search), his mother and a lawyer for the Holloway (search) family. All three said they would do the show and failed to show (the lawyer called... but it is the third or fourth time that she has done that to us.) Frankly "no shows" is not unusual in this business — it is disruptive to our planning but never fatal.

I have my theory on Steve Croes and his mother — that they were offered money from another show (a network show, not cable news) and we don't pay our guests to appear. My guess is that the show that paid them told them not to do our show so as to dilute their interview. My theory is not totally wild, since I ran into the network show anchor and producer at the Croes house at about 4 p.m. when we were reassured that Steve and his mother would appear. But alas, that happens... I am not disturbed by it. We had much more to discuss.

Likewise I was not surprised that the lawyer for the Holloway family cancelled about 6 p.m. She has done it to us so many times that I told my senior producer earlier in the day that she would be a "no-show." I was right. Oddly enough, I think she has stage fright since she has agreed so often to do our show and then cancels. I can't figure out why else she would do it so often and so consistently.

Beth Holloway and her husband did show up as they agreed (incidentally I like this couple more every time I am with them. They are going through hell... and doing it with such grace.) I knew Beth and her husband would show up. They want and need media attention put on this search so there is success — their hearts are broken. They want to find Natalie and go home to Alabama. That is all they want. I sure wish I could help them.

I have posted some pictures that we shot yesterday — just to give you an idea of what the island is like in some areas. Click on the link in the photo box to check out my photo essay. I know you have seen my other pictures of the tourist section, but I doubt you have seen the inside or outside of an Aruban lawyer's office (and yes, I know, your life would still be complete without seeing it! But I took the pictures for the immensely curious.)

And finally, a lighter note: If you are a regular reader of the blog, you are aware that we have been feeding a monkey in a cage in the yard next to the Van der Sloot home. The owners left town for two weeks and we were stunned at the lack of care for the monkey. We were told someone feeds the monkey daily, but we still felt sorry for the monkey. We take food from the buffet at the hotel and feed him (there is a picture posted today of the food we take from the buffet.) I took my video camera on Friday to the monkey's house so that I could video for you the monkey as we fed him. As the video will show you, I got punched by the monkey. I was shooting my handy-cam when the monkey came up, stuck his head in the lens (which made his head seem huge to me) and then belted me. He hit the camera and there is a loud thud and the camera spills. I was crouched down and so he got me when I was not particularly balanced on my feet... I backed up as he hit the camera (he startled me) and caught my foot in the dirt and eventually fell. As luck would have it, not only do we have my video of the monkey punching me, but our professional cameraman was with it and got a different angle. He got the monkey's arm coming out and he got me tumbling looking stupid, very stupid. I fell back on my left wrist and we drove around Friday with ice on my wrist. All is well: My wrist is fine, my pride is a bit bruised (I look stupid falling over but I can laugh at myself.) I still love the monkey and I don't blame him. I would not want someone coming up to me and sticking a handy-cam in my face! And yes, as soon as I finish this blog, I am going back to feed him.

Now some random e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

Dear Greta,
Do you know if they have taken Paulus van der Sloot's car(s) in to the police station for a thorough search for evidence? If not, maybe they should? If he picked Joran up from the beach that night, maybe he helped him to hide/dispose of evidence. Also, maybe they should take Joran to the beach location where he said he left Natalee and make him show them exactly where he left her! Then, they could take the dog team from Texas to that location and trace the path, if that's still possible. It's unbelievable that they just interrogate this kid over and over and it seems like they aren't doing much else! What about the "electronic surveillance" they said they did. Surely that turned up something?
You're doing a wonderful job keeping us informed from Aruba. Keep up the great detective work! My prayers and heart go out to Natalee's family, along with the rest of the world.
Debbie Wilson

E-mail No. 2

Paul van der Sloot knows the chief of police and the head prosecutor far too well for them to do their jobs with anything approaching due diligence. Van der Sloot no doubt knows things about them that they would not want exposed. I suspect even the judge that turned him loose is concerned that Van der Sloot might expose the dirt on the Aruban justice system if they burn him or his son. Aruba is an in-grown island nation and Van der Sloot is part of the Aruban elite. There will be no justice for Natalee until Paul van der Sloot's hold over the prosecution team (including the police) is exposed to the public in the Netherlands. Maybe then they will take charge.
Just my opinion.
Cedric Jones

E-mail No. 3

Greta,
I feel so sorry for Natalee's mother and family. How could this be happening? Where is Natalee? That is all they want to know. Where is she? If Joran had told this story at the beginning I would probably believe it: He and Natalee were let off at the beach. Natalee wouldn't go far enough for him, he got mad and left her there. That is believable. But he got his friends to tell a lie for him. Why did he need lies? Why did he need lies if he is innocent? He knew he needed lies before Natalee's family got there, didn't he? Well, if that doesn't scream guilt, what does?
And I don't trust these Aruban officials. I think they may be talking out both sides of their mouths. I don't think they have any intention of solving this case. Natalee will just be another young American girl who vanishes in the Caribbean. Too bad.
I feel a big boycott coming against Aruba and Holland if they don't get serious about this. I think they are just going through motions.
Greta, tell Natalee's mother how much our hearts go out to her. Tell her not to lose heart. And if they need money to offset costs, just give us an address where to mail a check. Anything they need, let us know through the media
Sincerely,
Carol Stone

E-mail No. 4

Greta,
I am a private investigator and wilderness crime scene investigation is my forte. I have been following this case on your show since the beginning. Although you can't report everything in one hour, there are some aspects of the search that seem to be missing. Searching the waters and the land areas can be only a portion of what needs to be searched. The following are some of my questions:
1. Have the storm water drainage pipes, street gutters and manholes been checked? If not, a confined space search team needs to get in there and look.
2. Have searchers checked burned debris on or around the beach and Van der Sloot home? If not they should check. Buttons and zippers don't always burn, evidence of clothing could be found even if it was burned.
3. Did the investigators check the handles of shovels and tools that belong to Van der Sloot? If not, they need to. These items, when used to bury or otherwise dispose of a body contain blood or body fluid from the victim, transferred from the suspect's hands.
There are many other questions, but with all the typical areas searched already, these three questions when answered may find Natalee.
Robert Birch
Dorothy, NJ

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