ORANJESTAD, Aruba – She's been a regular on many U.S. television news shows since her teenage daughter disappeared five weeks ago during a high school graduation trip to Aruba.
Nearly every day Beth Holloway Twitty (search) takes her daughter's case to an American news media eager to broadcast her latest hopes and frustrations with the official investigation.
Armed with graceful charm and a gripping story, the 44-year-old speech therapist has played a major role in making her 18-year-old daughter's disappearance one of the most closely watched news stories in the United States for more than a month.
Along the way, she has managed to focus international attention on this tiny Dutch Caribbean island, putting tremendous pressure on its leaders to produce answers.
"By bringing attention to it, she has been able to apply a good deal of scrutiny to her cause," said Wally Dean of the Washington, D.C.-based Project for Excellence in Journalism (search). "She has certainly gotten the attention of Aruban authorities."
Prime Minister Nelson Oduber (search) declared finding Natalee Holloway a "national priority."
"This case is under a microscope and the world is watching," government spokesman Ruben Trapenberg said.
Three young men have been detained in the Alabama honor student's May 30 disappearance, but no one has been charged. Aruban police, the FBI, Dutch Marines and a group of Texas volunteers have conducted extensive searches throughout the island. But they have found no trace of the young woman.
But Holloway Twitty, continuously flanked by family and friends, says she won't go home without answers.
Aruba, a protectorate of the Netherlands, on two different occasions called in Dutch Marines for assistance. At one point Oduber gave public employees days off so thousands of Arubans could help in the searches.
Trapenberg said he's never seen an investigation that has received so many government resources. A total of 21 police detectives have been assigned to the case compared to an average of three or four for most other investigations, he said.
On Saturday, 33 days after Holloway vanished, Aruban authorities said the Netherlands government would send three F-16 warplanes fitted with special equipment to help in the search.
On Sunday, police briefly took each of the three suspects to separate locations on the island to analyze their stories and gather new information, said Attorney General Karin Janssen (search).
"This is a common thing we do to gather evidence," she said, declining to release further details.
Holloway Twitty said she had no previous experience with the news media, but quickly realized broadcasting her story increased expectations to solve the case.
"I've got to keep Natalee's case alive and keep the pressure on," she said during a recent interview with The Associated Press.
Holloway Twitty greets reporters with hugs, remembers their names and thanks them for taking the time to listen.
"The media have been nothing but respectful toward me. They have been the voice of Natalee," she said. "There is no way we would be this far along without" the attention.
When she isn't doing interviews, she goes around the island putting up "missing" flyers with her daughter's picture, or visits elementary schools to make "Natalee" bracelets with children.
She sleeps in the same Holiday Inn room that Natalee stayed in, leaving her daughter's packed purple duffel bag the way authorities found it the day Holloway failed to get on a plane home to Mountain Brook, Ala.
Seven FBI agents had an advisory role in the investigation when it began and several remain on the island. Last week, both Sen. Richard Shelby (search), an Alabama Republican, and Alabama Gov. Bob Riley (search) wrote letters to Aruba's prime minister urging him to do more. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also has expressed concern, Trapenberg said.
But despite the news media blitz and massive searches, the case doesn't appear close to being solved. The three detainees — the 17-year-old son of a top justice official on the island and two Surinamese brothers — were scheduled Monday to go again before a judge, who will decide whether to extend their detention another 60 days.
Janssen, the attorney general, told the AP last week that there was no physical evidence that Natalee had been murdered, casting doubt on the plausibility of a criminal conviction and on how long a judge would allow the men to be held.
Still, Holloway Twitty has promised to push on until she gets the truth.
"We must expect and demand that Natalee is returned to her country," she said.