A young American dies suddenly and mysteriously on a sun-drenched tropical island.
Like a lot of people, one of the first thoughts that went through my head when I was asked to pack my bags for the assignment was... Natalee Holloway.
This time, we knew where the body was.
What we didn't know, and what we won't know until toxicology tests come back, is what killed 20-year-old Daniel Smith, the son of former Playboy model Anna Nicole.
But as I found out during my week-long stay in the Bahamas, the rumors were flying almost as fast as they were in Aruba — and many were just as outrageous.
Some of the rumors made it onto the front page of a local newspaper, which prompted Doctor's Hospital, where Daniel died, to threaten a lawsuit unless a correction was made. A retraction was printed in a subsequent issue, but by then, the rumor had spread around the world as fact. As they say in the Bahamas, "Don't let your mouth carry you where your foot can't bring you back from."
Needless to say, Bahamians are less than impressed by the media spotlight being turned on their nation of 700 islands. Even though locals I spoke to didn't see any similarities between the Holloway and Anna Nicole cases, I think they're fearful the two will be linked and will in time, bring them negative publicity.
And that's not good for a country that relies so heavily on tourism.
My crew and I got that impression first-hand on our first day when we were thrown off of, what appeared to be public property, by the president of the Nassau Chamber of Commerce.
The spot we chose on the side of the road provided us with a good backdrop of the hospital, helping us tell the story of how Daniel died. We had parked our minivan there for at least six hours while doing live shots, when suddenly the president emerged from the Chamber. She wasn't happy, and wasn't willing to negotiate, compromise, or listen to our plea to do one more live shot, which by then was only minutes away.
We didn't get her name, but as a representative of the Chamber, she said she had the authority to force us off the property, claiming it was illegal to park. She also didn't care that police had passed by us several times and never said a word. She did however, threaten to call police. We packed up and moved, and I filed my live report by cell phone.
For the next six days, as I passed the Chamber on my way to our Bahamas Bureau, I made it a point to look at our former spot. And each day a different vehicle was parked there, ensuring we could not.
In the Bahamas, they pride themselves on protecting their own.
Todd Connor is a general assignment reporter and weekend/overnight anchor for FOX News Channel.