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Suffering in Aruba

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We arrived in Aruba (search) about 2 p.m. on Tuesday. We have the drill down... we went to the car rental area and rented a car. We rejected the first car — it did not have air conditioning. It blew only hot — very hot — air. The country is much too hot to travel with no A/C. Since we spend most of the day in a car driving around to interview people and wanted a car with working A/C. We were then given a second car.

The second car later broke down... it overheated and we got stuck on the side of the road. The rental car agency met us and switched out the car — but only after my producer took our only bottled water and put it in the radiator in an effort to fix our problem. It did not help. Since we were stranded and I had lots of time waiting for another car, I took pictures of us stranded along the side of the road near the landfill, but the high speed internet service in the hotel is not working so I can't send them back to the U.S. to post on the blog.

The landfill is everything you would expect. It is horrible. We tried to have a bit of gallows humor — pointing out that most people go to Aruba and head for the beautiful beaches but we head for the landfill with a car that breaks down in ghastly heat. Our last trips were much the same — we land at the airport, get a rental car and start working. No beaches... septic tanks that are being searched, etc.

Aruba is beautiful and safe, but I do hate one thing about Aruba: the treatment of the animals. I have never seen anything like it. Dogs are walking all over the island — many injured from getting hit by cars and most looking very thin and thirsty. It is difficult to see this.

Yesterday midday, from the landfill, I called my producer in New York and asked her to call the animal relief group here. Next to the landfill where we were was a very badly injured dog crying. We could not stand it... it was very painful. We all tried not to look but the crying was unavoidable. We even discussed trying to put the dog out of his/her misery but he was under a building where we could not get to him/her. It was clear that his injuries were fatal ones but he was struggling. It was horrible. We were all enraged and mostly because we have seen other dogs ignored here. The most we could do was try and get the Aruban authorities out there to do something for that poor dog. If only this sighting were unusual... it is not in my experience.

We had to remind ourselves that while the dog incident had us all upset, that we were looking for information about a missing person and to put things in perspective. Nonetheless, it is lousy to see suffering and hard to face.

As for suffering, imagine seeing a father walk out of dump after spending time there looking for his daughter's remains... there are no words that describe this. I don't know what we do with this story. I suppose we could drop it and move on... yet a part of me says we should try and finish it. There is no perfect answer.

Soon after we saw and heard the badly injured dog, a man drove by and started yelling at me. I was not afraid of him and approached his car and put the mike in front of his face. My cameraman stood next to me and we aired about a minute of that "interview" last night. With the punishing heat, the dog crying in pain, the man just seemed to "complete" the afternoon for us. I wanted to tape him so that you could get the raw idea of what it is we can confront here. Incidentally, we also meet many, many, many nice Arubans.

I spoke to Beth Holloway Twitty (search) and she will be back in Aruba about noon on Wednesday.

Now for some e-mails — some are random, but the first one is selected:

E-mail No. 1 — We are following the LaToyia Figueroa (search) story and a FOX News producer sent me a quick update. I want to do more on the story when we get back and want to be kept informed while I am in Aruba:

Greta,
The update for the Latoyia Figueroa (missing PA woman)
Reward has been increased to $100,000
K-9 search dogs are also involved in the search

E-mail No. 2

Greta,
The lovely gentleman in the car was right, Natalee wanted to go to Aruba, we, as Americans, allow our children to visit other cultures. Now we as Americans should not want to go to Aruba. Let his words be Aruba's destiny. Let Americans band together and 'just say no' to all the cruise stops and vacations that Arubans thrive on to put food on their table and justice on their streets. Our family makes this promise to Natalee, we will not be seen on Aruban ground. A question, how many white pickups are in Aruba? Who owns a white pick up? Also, if the contractors in Aruba were not using their equipment to build for American Tourist, the equipment could be used for the search.
Lorraine Watson
Bloomington, IL

E-mail No. 3

Hey Greta,
Thanks for being back in Aruba... the Holloway/Twitty family need you and FNC there. I have ever been hopeful and still hold out hope that this case will be solved. I too wish Mark Fuhrman was doing the investigating. He always makes such complete sense to me. Please Greta, keep pushing, keep asking and keeping showing the spotlight on Aruba... I too feel that the "Aruba Police" have a lot to answer for. The Holloway/Twitty families are in my prayers.
Thanks for your hard work, Greta.
Nancy Hostetler
Formerly of Winston-Salem, NC
But soon to be Tucson, AZ

E-mail No. 4

I found the interview with the Aruban police officer very interesting. He says he doesn't know enough about the three young men involved in this case to form an opinion one way or the other about their honesty. This is a man who lives on the same small island as these boys, probably has kids in the very same school the three boys attend, has (undoubtedly) heard many rumors about them through his community, and he works at the police department (and, undoubtedly, has heard many things about these boys from work). Still, he can't say whether he thinks these boys are honest or not.
However, he's never seen Natalee H., never spoken to her, knows virtually nothing about her, and he's convinced that she has "left the Island."
If the rest of the Aruban police force have the same brilliant deductive skills as this officer, it's no wonder they have no evidence in this case.
Jeri Wallace
Kennebunk, ME

E-mail No. 5

Greta,
I have e-mailed you all kind of kudos but now must send you a severe negative complaint!
Natalee's mother had a terrible decision to leave her in Aruba and go home to Alabama for a brief visit and catch up. This visit took her to her home where she had last saw Natalee.
You invaded her privacy. She, Jugg and their son need the privacy. She did not need you invading her private moments of her home where we all at times need to go to feel safe and gather our strength!
You are probably saying they invited me... get real. Of course they were nice to you when you ask about a visit in their home... she didn't need to be camera ready! She needed time to sit in Natalee's room be comforted by her friends and family.
You must realize what FOX News has done for the cause of keeping this case in the forefront of our minds and Aruba on its toes is why she allowed you to invade the privacy of their home.
No excuses, you can't take back the damage done to her. How very insensitive. I cannot allow your PR or boss would have allowed you to do it! If you wanted a feel for her home time why not go when the family was in Aruba?
Evelyn J. Hottinger

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