Is the Government of Aruba Going after Natalee's Family?

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'REILLY Factor," Decemberer 6, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, charges that there is tension between Aruban police officials and the family of Natalee Holloway. The stories detailed in Vanity Fair magazine, a publication that is suspect to me. But nevertheless, the article is causing controversy.

Joining us now on the phone from Aruba is Julia Renfro, the editor of Aruba Today, who is mentioned extensively on the article.

The thesis, and they quote Deputy Chief Gerold Dompig in the article. The thesis is that the Holloway family, Twitty family, impeded the police investigation, Julia. Do you believe that?

JULIA RENFRO, EDITOR, ARUBA TODAY: Well, it’s not really what I believe, but I did speak to the Commissioner Dompig earlier today, and I asked him, "What did you mean by they hurt the investigation?" And he said he’s not blaming them specifically for anything, but that their attacks via the U.S. media certainly changed the tide of the investigation, basically, pressuring the police to make what they felt, believe it or not, premature arrests of the suspect.

O’REILLY: But I mean, it’s pretty easy, because they have not solved the crime, and it’s appalling. It’s pretty easy for Dompig to blame the family, is it not?

RENFRO: Well, at this point, you know, pointing a finger at anybody is easy.

O’REILLY: Yes, it’s an easy thing to do. So even if I were to believe that, I don’t believe I would have acted that way if I were the deputy police chief.

Now in the article, in the magazine, it states that you, Julia, had a conversation with Natalee’s mother Beth Holloway Twitty whereupon she told you that Natalee had mentioned another boy she was involved with on the island.

Now Natalee’s mother denies that conversation. What say you?

RENFRO: OK. Well, what she did, and I’m not stating that it’s another boy. What she told me on the 31st of May was that Natalee had met a tall Dutch boy with blue eyes. She’d met him. He spent some time with them, meaning the other Mountain Brook kids, as well, throughout their entire vacation. So based on that, she continued with...

O’REILLY: OK. But Natalee’s mother denies the conversation totally. And what’s his name, Van Der Sloot, Joran Van Der Sloot doesn’t have blue eyes.

RENFRO: Right. That’s — that’s where there’s question.

O’REILLY: So the police are drawing a conclusion there was another man...

RENFRO: Right.

O’REILLY: Another guy involved. You know, so you’re at odds with Natalee’s mother at this point, Julia?

RENFRO: Well, you know, we’ve — we’ve had a tough time. We’ve had a tough time, because I really went all out for her to help her and her family do everything possible to find their daughter Natalee.

O’REILLY: All right. So you’re standing by your story that she told you that Natalee told her there was a Dutch boy down on the island she liked with blue eyes. You’re standing by that?

RENFRO: Absolutely.

O’REILLY: All right, Julia. Thanks very much. We appreciate you taking the time.

Now joining us from Washington with reaction, Greta Van Susteren, the host of "On the Record," coming up in a little while. And you’re going to have Natalee’s mother, who, you know, vehemently denied she had this conversation with Julia. Why would Julia lie, you know? I mean, Julia has been pretty accurate.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST, "ON THE RECORD": Well, I’m not so sure that one of them is lying. You know, it could be sort of in the thrust of all the chaos and confusion they don’t remember the conversation. I don’t find it a particularly important point in terms of the investigation, but maybe I’m missing it.

But look, there’s been a lot of — there’s been a lot of mileage over the last six months, a lot of conversation, and it doesn’t surprise me that two people might recall a conversation differently.

O’REILLY: Yes, but it’s a pretty big deal if, during Natalee’s tenure down on the island, she called her mother and told her mother about a boy with blue eyes, as Julia states. Everybody would remember that. Because correct me if I’m wrong, Mrs. Twitty denies having any conversations with her daughter while she was on the island of Aruba?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, I don’t know if it did occur or it didn’t occur, Bill. And if it did occur and that Beth is mistaken it doesn’t change sort of the focus here that she wants to find her daughter. If it didn’t occur, I don’t even care if Julia Renfro is mistaken. I don’t particularly care, because I don’t see it as a huge important point.

O’REILLY: OK. All right. You know more about this case than I do.

The thesis of the article again is that the Holloway family impeded the investigation. Are you buying that?

VAN SUSTEREN: I don’t think I’m buying it. I think right now, there are a lot of tempers flaring. People are pointing fingers both directions.

I must admit that I find it rather weak on the part of the police department in Aruba to say that, look, police are supposed to take a lot of emotion from families in the course of investigations because families are very emotional.

And the sort of the whole idea that the — Natalee’s family pressured them into the arrest of Deepak, Satish and Joran, how do they explain the earlier arrests of the two blacks? Who pressured them into that? Frankly, you know, I’m a little bit surprised that the police force is making this allegation.

And you know, look. I mean, I don’t even think — I think that it’s not fruitful on the part of the police to be pointing fingers at this point.

O’REILLY: No, but the police obviously are embarrassed, and as you know, there’s a boycott move underway out of the Alabama governor’s office that’s going to hurt the island if it takes hold. So it looks like there’s a real brawl shaping up here.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, but you know what, Bill? It’s really disgraceful if any police department — I’m not just talking about Aruba — but any police department says, "Look, we make arrests because we are pressured to do so." The police are supposed to make arrests.

O’REILLY: Well, they say — they say the media attention, you know, not the Holloway family banging on their door, per se, but the media attention they brought to the island caused the police department to do things they wouldn’t have done.

VAN SUSTEREN: That’s even worse. That’s even worse. Why in the world? And look, police have a very important function in our society and in Aruban society, too. And it’s not to bow to pressure to what families are saying.

O’REILLY: I agree with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: It’s not to bow to pressure to what the media is saying.

If this — if this police force is that fragile that they don’t want any adverse publicity, if they’re that fragile that they won’t any families emotional and upset, you know, they really should think about cleaning house. Because this is an important investigation.

And police officers are trained every day of the week in this country to take a lot of criticism, a lot of heat, a lot unfairly, I might add, but to still keep their eye on the ball. And that’s to arrest people when they have the evidence, when they have suspicion, and to do it in compliance with the law.

Now, the Aruban law is a little bit different than ours. You can arrest someone more easily, but hopefully you do it at the right moment.


VAN SUSTEREN: And not because someone told you to do so.

O’REILLY: Now, you have Beth Holloway Twitty on with you tonight, and apparently, I would assume that she’s going to respond to this whole article, correct?

VAN SUSTEREN: I suppose so. And I guess, you know, maybe I have delusions of grandeur, but I hope someday to get the police, the prosecutor and Natalee’s family on the same page. Instead of pointing fingers at each other, to actually put — get their eyes on the ball and figure out what did happen to this 18-year-old young woman.

O’REILLY: All right. Well, if anybody can do it, you can, Greta. We appreciate it. Thank you. We’ll be watching.

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