Aruba Bound

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We have lots of pictures posted today on the blog. Click on the links in the photo box to check out my photo essays.

I have posted some more of the ones we took in Birmingham, Alabama when we interviewed Beth Holloway Twitty (search), Jug Twitty and Natalee's friends. Several show the prayer wall erected for Natalee. There is one light hearted one — Jug, my producer George Szucs and I all showed up for the interview wearing the same outfit (yellow shirt, blue jeans and brown shoes.) It looked like we had called each other and staged the scene.

I have also posted pictures taken by my colleague Shayla Bezdrob. Shayla has been in Philly covering the disappearance of LaToyia Figueroa (search). LaToyia has been missing since July 18, is pregnant and also the mother of a seven year old. Because Shayla is "on the road," and I am likewise "on the road," I don't have an explanation for each of Shayla's pictures. It is a nightmare trying to write a blog on the road. Having looked at the images myself, I can tell what many of them are... and assume you can, too. By the way, still no word about LaToyia, but we are trying to get information.

As you read this, yes, we are on a plane... headed back to Aruba (search). There have been some recent developments that cause us to want to go back and see what we can learn. It is easier to get information if we are there, but not impossible to collect if we are at home.

If you watched Monday night's show or read yesterday's blog, you know that we were in Alabama over the weekend interviewing Beth's mother, stepfather and friends. We also went to the prayer wall (check the photo essays) erected at a local church for Natalee. The church was not the one Beth and Natalee attend — but a local church with immense hope for Natalee.

Since this was Beths's first time home since May 30, some of her friends had her over for dinner and graciously invited us when they learned we were also in town. We went and had a great time. What was so stunning to us — besides fabulous Southern food and Southern hospitality — is how many faces we recognized. Twenty-three people at this dinner have "done time" in Aruba helping Beth and since we have been there so much, we recognized them.

We left the party early (we had much to do in the morning — including feeding the tapes from our interviews to New York.) However, we did not leave empty handed... we left with food in plastic containers that our hosts insisted we take. (I told you, we experienced that Southern hospitality!) We ate all the food in the car before we even got back to our hotel. It was great! (Two of us had never had grits before.)

On Monday we drove to Atlanta to do the show out of our Atlanta bureau. It is easier to do the show out of our own bureau than a rent-a-bureau hence the reason that we traveled from Birmingham to Atlanta. I had never seen the Atlanta bureau before so it was fun for me to see it.

Now here are some viewer e-mails — randomly chosen:

E-mail No. 1

Sunday night I heard an Aruban attorney say the Holloway investigation is a "local" investigation, not an international one, therefore the FBI can't "participate" only advise. That's fine if the arrogant and inept Arubans will take their advice. The queen needs to give the judges in this case "a talking to" as we say in Alabama. I think the whole bunch (judges) are corrupt and trying to protect their latest candidate for membership in the Aruban mafia.
Selma, AL

E-mail No. 2

You were 50 miles south of my hometown of Cullman, AL when you were in Birmingham. I too have tried to keep things in perspective given Beth Twitty's heartbreak. The other day I got home from almost three weeks of travel... home a few days, gone again. My pool was green, the yard is a mess — compliments of a scoundrel of a yellow lab puppy named Sophie. I had no clean clothes, no milk... you know what I'm saying. I snapped at my teenage daughters and that made them retreat to their rooms. I had so wanted to spend time with them and my husband, but I was just really in a bad mood. Then it hit me. One of my best friends is battling breast cancer and Natalee's mom is devastated.
I walked into the room where my girls were and I said, "I don't have breast cancer and you are not missing in Aruba. I'm sorry. It's all relative."
I know what you mean, Greta, it's all relative.
Vicky Spear

E-mail No. 3 — This should make you mad. It is pretty lame that Google has this as the first "hit":

Do a Google search on "Natalee Holloway" and the first "hit" is the following: "F—- Natalee Holloway"…. Some blogs have tried to have Goggle address the issue... it wouldn't require eliminating the site, just drop it down further... so far nothing has been done. Maybe Greta could just mention the matter on air.

E-mail No. 4

I am furious with the way the American Press is portraying the investigation in Aruba. While I empathize with Beth Holloway and her family, I think that the emotional toll they are under does not comport to being rational or objective. Her accusations of the L.E. in Aruba botching this investigation is purely based on her emotional situation. For you and others to continually day in and day point the fingers at that being the reason why no one can find Natalee is not only absurd, but also ridiculous. You people have no idea what L.E. was or was not doing in the first days. Heck our own country is full of inept investigations. Who are we to criticize?
Why would anyone think that the Aruban authorities would not want to solve this case? If anything they have gone out of their way to accommodate Beth and her family. Bringing in F-16s which was probably at an outrageous expense to them, etc. But it seems to never be enough for them. They've drained an entire pond and let's not say they should did it earlier, there's NOTHING there. Now they are searching a landfill for the THIRD time. And now Tim Miller of Equusearch is harassing Mr. Van der Sloot while your cameras roll to get onto his property to search a well which is only "rumored" to be there?
For God's sakes people, get real. No one has been running all over the island burying and then reburying Natalee. In fact we don't even know is she is alive or dead. For all we know someone could have whisked her off the island or she could have had an accident of some kind or even run off. The speculations and suspicions toward Paul van der Sloot is another thing that irks me to no end. It seems the general population doesn't have the mindset to figure out things for themselves so when you people make remarks or discuss things, suddenly it's the truth to them. People have become such lemmings.
As an American I am appalled at the way this is being conducted. You may think you "own" the story but you and other news medias are making us look like the UGLY, ARROGANT Americans that other countries view us as.
Whatever sympathy I had for this woman is waning slowly by surely. And you can blame you, Geraldo and the rest of the headline grabbers who have Beth on day in and day out. MY God, enough is enough already. There are so many other missing women out there and this meddling into a foreign possible criminal investigation is really getting out of hand. Show some respect for another country's government and let's stop this and let them do their job under their system of government.
And please impress upon Tim Miller that his theatrics has now earned my disrespect, when I used to respect him highly. He too is making this too personal. And as for T. J. Ward... don't let me start. I am quite familiar with the workings of an investigation business. No reputable P.I. needs to get on TV every night and say what he found out... PLEASE. He is no more than a publicity seeking hound who is out to just increase his client base by being involved in something high profile. In fact "rumors" are out there that he intends to write a book. His voice stress analyzer machine is a "joke."
Or while I am at it, Mansur... LOL. That man has such a dirty record I can't believe he's on every show around. I wonder if another witness will materialize tomorrow.
Thanks for hearing me out... but I am going to bust if I don't say something soon. Expect to hear more also. Right now I am too tired to get my thoughts together, but tomorrow is another day.
Diane Bazzano
New York, NY

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