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I have many, many pictures from last week's journey to Birmingham, Alabama, the Atlanta bureau and Aruba (search) and will try and post many of them this week. I have posted today two sets of pictures. Please click on the links in the photo box above to check out my photo essays.
The first set of pictures is from FOX News Channel's Atlanta bureau where we did our show on Monday night. I had never been there before and thus had fun seeing it. We are in the same building as PBS in Atlanta and the building is quite grand. Our bureau in this building is quite small but adequate. You will see from the pictures that one room doubles as the studio and the tapes library (there is also a mirror on the wall to put make up on.) The space is so small that we have to be very efficient. Check out the images posted.
The other set of pictures are from Aruba. We literally pounded on doors in neighborhoods all over the island and investigated every lead we had. On one occasion we went to the Aruba public library, and while waiting for some information, spotted an Aruban magazine with Natalee Holloway (search) on the cover. We could not read the magazine — I can't recall what language it was but certainly not English — and Natalee's picture was the entire cover. We decided to "shoot" the magazine (check the posted pictures.) We did it on the sly since we were unsure whether we were allowed to have cameras in the library. And while "shooting" the magazine, I took a picture of my producer who was doing it!
I keep getting e-mails asking if we are going back to Aruba. I have not discussed it with my seniors but assume the answer is "yes" if the story warrants it and if we have the technical ability to broadcast from there. We still have lots of people on the ground in Aruba and can accomplish much from home. The fact that we have spent so much time there means we have lots of people who can help us. I make daily calls to everyone in Aruba I have worked looking for updates.
At this point, it seems like the investigation is at a "wait and see" stage — which is not gratifying for anyone. Everyone wants more movement in the investigation. This investigation does not seem to be moving quickly. We do know that September 4 is a big date — the judge will decide on that date whether Joran van der Sloot should be held for another 30 days or not. While no one knows what evidence the prosecutor has for sure... most think the actual evidence — besides the lies — is "thin" and Joran could be released on September 4. Of course the prosecutor could surprise us and much could happen before then.
In the United States when a prosecutor hits a brick wall, the prosecutor will "divide and conquer." In other words, get one of the suspects to turn state's evidence against another suspect and help the prosecution. The prosecutors do this with grants of immunity or plea bargains. I have not heard this being discussed in Aruba but it might be a way to get some information. For instance, perhaps Deepak Kalpoe (search) would like to get a deal or immunity in exchange for details about what happened — or did not happen — that last night with Natalee.
Of course, I don't know for sure if the prosecutor has hit a brick wall and I don't know if Deepak would want to talk or could be of any help to the prosecution. I did speak to a reporter on Saturday in Aruba, however, who told me that the prosecutor admitted to him on Friday that her case was in trouble. The prosecutor did not tell me that directly... in fact, she won't talk to me (and she has no obligation to talk to me. She certainly should not talk to me if she thinks it would hurt the case but she is talking to local reporters.) We also don't know if the prosecutor has talked to the defense about immunity or a deal... I guess it is "stay tuned."
The show is taking two road trips this week: One to Virginia on Tuesday (but I should be back in D.C. to do the show Tuesday night) and one to California on Wednesday. But, as you know, we are in the news business and plans are often aborted for news, but that is the current plan... "stay tuned."
And now for some of your e-mails:
E-mail No. 1
Yeah, Greta, when I say number one, I mean that you have surpassed Jerry Springer as the worst show ever.
You have hindered the case more then helped it and if I was the people of Aruba, I would have already kicked you off the island. When all the illegals are in our country, and our government is not doing anything about it. With gangs, like MS-13 killing people and citizens are missing along the border. You have the gall to take in you own hands and try to be Miss Big Shot in another country.
E-mail No. 2
Pardon my thoughts, but unless you can give and get a more positive response from Natalee's mom you should quit interviewing. You are giving the defense more tools to work with. We know she wasn't kidnapped, don't even go there.
E-mail No. 3
I have been following your story about Natalee Holloway from time-to-time both via TV and the Internet.
I keep thinking about your blog that you called "Monkey Business" and keep wondering if the monkey may have been reacting to something other than his owners being gone on vacation. After all, how much time does his owners spend with him while they are home? His needs were being met during that time as you mentioned that someone was feeding him.
Could the monkey have been reacting to an odor such as that of a decaying body that was buried or hidden in an old shed or building on the property or nearby? I keep thinking that perhaps, with the owners on vacation, it could have been possible for someone such as Joran to have hidden Natalee's body there and not be noticed. Has this possibility been checked out? I know that Joran's father has refused to allow the search team to search his property.
What about the neighbor's property?
ANSWER: I don't know much about monkeys but I suspect the monkey was just reacting to seeing us at the neighbor's house. I think it is usually pretty quiet around him... and then we showed up in a group.
E-mail No. 4 — After getting this next e-mail, I went to AOL and read what the viewer was talking about. There was an AOL poll wondering if I was overdoing the Natalee Holloway story:
You made AOL News! How cool is that! Did you read yet? Young, white, pretty female? I tend to disagree! While some ratings are going down at FOX News, yours are up! Ratings don't lie.
E-mail No. 5
Please don't stop reporting on this story. I look forward to your show every night because I know you will have the latest information on this situation. I miss you on the weekends. It is apparent that the Twitty and Holloway family trust you and feel comfortable with you reporting this story. I don't know why I am so interested in this story except that I have a 20-year-old daughter. I can't imagine what that family faces every day. It's not enough that their daughter is missing they also have to deal with the Aruba government and there laws.
I pray for Natalee and her family. I admire Beth and each family member for they have a strong faith. I can fully appreciate Beth not wanting to leave. It would be so difficult to be here in the states and the search still going on in Aruba.
Thank you for your strong dedication to this story. I have also enjoyed reading your blog. Continue the good work.
By the way what has happened to the missing 5-month pregnant woman? I haven't heard anything in the last few days.
Looking forward to your show Monday.
ANSWER: Thanks for the note... I wish we could do every missing person case in depth. I also wish that "Dateline," who did a story on Friday night about whether there was too much focus on missing white women, would have instead spent their hour trying to FIND a missing person! NBC has much power, much programming and rather than criticizing, I sure wish they would start helping. They could do more than the rest of us since their reach is so far.
As for the missing pregnant woman in Philly (Latoyia Figueroa) we check our sources every day looking for updates but there are none so far. Like with Natalee, hope grows grim when days pass and there is no new information.
E-mail No. 6
Ms. Van Susteren,
It is not, as the rest of the media says, that there is an obsession with the disappearance of young white girls... the reason for the overwhelming interest in this case is that once baited with facts and details, the public wants the conclusion, the final answer. And, I must add, your reporting has been very detailed. Yes, some information is repeated, but there is new and fresh details every evening. You have pursued every angle, every rumor, every fact. I will continue to watch until the answer is found (and beyond to future broadcasts).
I am sure you have heard (and have been told) details which you have not been able to pass along to your public... I am waiting to hear all about those... there is a book in there somewhere (for you)... keep my name handy and send me one of your first copies.
I will continue to watch and listen
Baton Rouge, LA
E-mail No. 7
I was reading criticism of your coverage in Aruba on AOL News. The guys on the other networks are whining, so this must prove to you and FOX News that you are doing the right thing by staying with Natalee's case. Personally, I wouldn't miss your show! The whiners say that this story would not get all your attention if Natalee had not been young, pretty and white. My but they are petty. Jealousy is truly rearing its ugly head among the male competition! Please don't change a thing about what you are doing. Your viewers can plainly see the importance of this story... it could happen to any of our own teens. I have certainly come to admire and care for Natalee's family during all this. Beth is a loving mother determined to find her daughter and she has my utmost respect and is constantly in my prayers. I have shed many tears over her ordeal. I pray that Natalee will be found soon (alive) and that the guilty will be punished. It certainly seems to me that something fishy is going on with the Aruban authorities. Don't let this go, Greta. If all journalists had your integrity and were as honest and truthful, they wouldn't be standing on the sidelines whining! Bravo, Greta!
Oh, in answer to the e-mail from the lady who said Beth should have been more concerned with her daughter Before the trip... it must be nice to be perfect! What a wonderful world it would be if we could all be like her.
E-mail No. 8
I, too, am very tired of the Holloway story... your program used to be my 9 p.m. viewing during the week, but not any longer. Sorry!
J. A. Wright
E-mail No. 9
What you and others are conveniently ignoring is the fact that if Beth Holloway had never consented for her daughter to go to Aruba on a class trip, she would never have been in this predicament!
The main reason these kids go out of country is to drink at age 18, something they cannot do in our country. Of course along with the drinking, goes the other surreptitious items involved with it!!! It is obvious these kids were not well supervised or this kind of thing would not have happened. Any parent who lets their child go on a trip such as this, out of our own country, needs their head examined. It would be a whole lot easier to deal with this case here in the U.S.
You are doing nothing except being used for the Holloway propaganda machine. Let the authorities handle this case!
ANSWER: I am not sure I understand why you would want to send this note. You can imagine how Natalee's family feels and all her friends and their parents. If they could turn back the clock, they would. This trip was a tradition at their school and there had never been a problem before. I am sure they now regret it immensely, but I just don't understand why you want to "kick them when they are down." What's your problem? Every time there is a tragedy there is great regret.
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