Aruba Framing?

June 9, 2005

On a story like the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, rumors are bound to fly. Authorities aren’t holding many press conferences, and when they do, they don’t say much. This is a relatively small island, and people talk. What they say isn’t often true, or it might be a variation of the truth. Kind of like the old-fashioned game of telephone, where one person tells another something very real, but after it gets told a few more times, the facts change.

We heard, but couldn’t confirm some stories about the three boys who told police they dropped Natalee off at her hotel the night she disappeared. They were the last ones to see her alive, and the first to be taken into custody by police. They were then released, and two security guards were arrested.

On Wednesday night, we got information on the boys from a very reliable source willing to be quoted. He’s Chris LeJuez, a local attorney representing one of the two security guards being held on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering Natalee, even though there’s apparently no evidence linking these men to Natalee, and no physical evidence suggesting Natalee was killed.

LeJuez told us he reviewed the boys’ statements to police, except he says only two of were in the file released to attorneys. One of them was missing, and that missing statement is from the boy whose father is a judge on this island.

According to the attorney, the two other boys told authorities Natalee had been drinking heavily and was drunk when they left "Carlos ‘n Charlie’s" bar. They say they took her to the beach near the California Lighthouse, on the island’s remote north end, and they say the third boy, the Judge’s son, made out with Natalee on the sand.

Then, they claim, they drove her back to her hotel, the Holiday Inn. When they got there she stumbled out of the car and fell to the ground.

When one tried to help her up, she pushed him away and said, "I can stand on my own!"

They say she then headed towards the lobby, and a black man wearing black pants and a black T-shirt escorted her inside.

The tape from the Holiday Inn lobby surveillance camera was reportedly checked by police, but no images of Natalee were found. The attorney says the security guard on duty from midnight on told authorities he never saw Natalee enter the hotel that night.

The three boys are now back in police custody, arrested before dawn Thursday morning. Their homes are being searched for evidence. Natalee Holloway is still missing at this hour, and her family is still holding out hope she'll be found alive.

E-mail Rick!

[Ed. note: Click the video tab in the upper right to watch Leventhal's reports.]

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