Are Aruban Cops Confident Natalee Will Be Found?

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," August 2, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Earlier today, we took our cameras to the Aruban police station where Joran van der Sloot is being interrogated by behavioral specialists. Lieutenant Rudy Soemers gave us some insight into where the investigation stands.


Is there the behavioralist from Holland — is that person here today?


VAN SUSTEREN: What does that person do that a police officer can't do?

SOEMERS: That's a good question. I would like to know that myself.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who made the decision to call in a behavioralist?

SOEMERS: Can't tell you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know and you can't tell me, or you just don't know?

SOEMERS: No, I just don't know.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who's now running the investigation?

SOEMERS: It's Mr. Zumers (ph), I think.

VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of collecting evidence, is there any ongoing collection of physical evidence going on?

SOEMERS: Not that I know. I'm not sure of that because I'm not in the investigation.

VAN SUSTEREN: How optimistic are your colleagues that this will be solved?

SOEMERS: Fifty percent.

VAN SUSTEREN: Just fifty?

SOEMERS: You know why? Because — this is my opinion — I don't think she's in Aruba.

VAN SUSTEREN: You think she's alive?

SOEMERS: Yes, and not in Aruba.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think she's alive?

SOEMERS: All the equipment that they used to find her in Aruba, and they didn't find her. For me, she's not in Aruba.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you get out of Aruba?

SOEMERS: Easily. With a boat, you will reach Port Escondido in less than an hour. With a good speedboat, you will reach in less than an hour.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does that happen often?

SOEMERS: It can. Listen, a lot of illegals is coming — they're coming in Aruba that way. So it's nothing strange. If she wanted to leave Aruba, she could leave it. It's easy to leave it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Her passport is left behind her room. Can she navigate out of here and into, like, for instance, Venezuela?

SOEMERS: Illegal, yes. Illegally, that's possible.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think she went voluntarily out of here, or do you think someone took her against her will?

SOEMERS: Voluntarily. That's my own opinion again, OK?

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that the opinion of any of your colleagues?

SOEMERS: No. I'm sure not.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you met Joran?

SOEMERS: I saw him, yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think of him?

SOEMERS: I didn't speak with him, so it's difficult for me to say what kind of person he is.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about Deepak? You ever see him?


VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think about Deepak?

SOEMERS: Difficult to say. Very difficult to say.


SOEMERS: I don't know them. I don't know them. I never spoke with them, so it's difficult to say what kind of person they are.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is this the most difficult investigation you've seen this police force face?

SOEMERS: No, no. We had others. And we solved them.

VAN SUSTEREN: But this one, you only have a 50/50 feeling that you're going to solve it.

SOEMERS: It's my own opinion again. That's why I tell you, for me, she's not on the island.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about the role of the FBI? Is that something that's welcome, or is that something that's in your way?

SOEMERS: No. No problem. If they want to help, it's no problem.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about the American media? Is that a problem in your way, or are we OK?

SOEMERS: No, that's no problem. You guys are only doing your job.

VAN SUSTEREN: Some guy screamed at me on the street, told me to go home today.

SOEMERS: Depends what you want to do. You want to stay, or you want to go?

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know Paul van der Sloot?

SOEMERS: No. I saw him once in here, in the building, but I don't know him.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was that when he was being questioned?

SOEMERS: No, he came to see his son. That was in the beginning.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about the prosecutor? Do you know her, the one who was on vacation?

SOEMERS: Yes, I know them all.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's she like?

SOEMERS: Nice person.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why is she on vacation in the middle of an investigation?

SOEMERS: I don't know that. I can't answer you that. I don't know that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that common, to go on vacation in the middle of an investigation?

SOEMERS: Possibly.


VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us live in Spokane is former LAPD homicide detective Mark Fuhrman. Mark, the interrogation that is going on with the behavioralist — I'm obviously a little stuck on that because that to me is a red flag. But you're an experienced detective. What does this mean?

MARK FUHRMAN, FORMER LAPD HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: Well, Greta, what's going on right now is what probably every major city, every detective knows, after they've talked to a few hundred convicts. The body language is part of the interrogation. But it happens the first interrogation nine weeks ago, eight-and-a-half weeks ago, eight weeks ago. It doesn't happen when the suspect's clammed up and he's not saying anything.

What, we've got 14 to 22 stories, so if he crosses his leg, we're going to pick that one? I mean, this is ridiculous! You know, Greta, I think we're being much too polite with the Aruban police, the authorities. They sound like, you know, they're either incompetent or they're corrupt or they're both, but they certainly don't know what in the hell they're doing. This is a problem.

You know, 50 percent chance of solving this? You have a police lieutenant that thinks she left the island? Why? Well, it's his opinion. Is there any evidence? No. This is indicative of the administration of the Aruba authorities? I mean, this is crazy!

VAN SUSTEREN: But, I mean, in all fairness, I mean, when you look at some cases, some cases are impossible to solve, for whatever reason. I mean, Joran van der Sloot could be the world's worst liar and do 15 or 25 or 30 different stories, yet if they don't have evidence to show that there's been a crime, that there's been a homicide, the police are stuck and the prosecutor is stuck. Now, I will admit that they didn't start this investigation very quickly. But you know, this may be the perfect crime.

FUHRMAN: Well, Greta, it isn't because they didn't collect any evidence. They didn't do anything that they were supposed to in the first 12 hours, the first 24, the first 36. They just let it languish — they didn't even look in the ocean for the victim. I mean, give me a break here!

And you know, you're very right, and I saw your show last night and I watched it intently. But when you have an interrogation, you need to have evidence, some evidence, whether testimony or physical evidence, to refute a statement that is inaccurate, so you can get the suspect back on track to little bits and pieces of the truth. You don't let him ramble on with confessions on and on. But they have nothing to refute it.

And you know, this is more like a POW interrogation, where they're just wearing somebody down to give up some consistent story, so they can say that they broke him. This is not the way we do it in America. I think everybody knows — any cop that's listening to this show right now knows that you either be — you would be relieved of this case or you would probably not be a detective anymore if you went on with this dog and pony show that's been going on in Aruba.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so if you set aside the interrogation, Mark, that aspect of it that's ongoing, how do you find the physical evidence, at this point, to support the crime? We're nine weeks into this. What can anyone possibly do?

FUHRMAN: Well, Greta, you know, if you're a detective on the scene, you need to be an organizer. You need to be able to point to people and tell them what to do. You seize all cars, all phone records. You get everybody isolated. You get them in an interrogation room. You get their statements — Van der Sloot, the mother, the father, the boys, everybody you know, everybody in the bar, every chaperone, everybody that saw Natalee leave. You get everything together, and you get them all wedded to these statements first. You collect all forensic evidence.

These boys, everybody that was in that car, their clothes, they're seized, their house, warrants. Then you can start writing search warrants. You do all this, and this is in the first 24 hours. Then you have the ability to go back.

VAN SUSTEREN: As I look at this, I mean, the one thing that disturbs me most of all is that — if I were investigating this, is that Joran van der Sloot came up so very quickly with a lie in the middle of the night, the first night she was missing. And it seems to me, How did he know he needed to lie? So I must admit that I'm enormously suspicious on him. But then I get stuck on that Elizabeth Smart case, where never in a million years did I think she would show up alive. I mean, how do you deal with this?

FUHRMAN: Well, we had nobody in the Elizabeth Smart case that was making any statement, except for her sister, that a man came in and took her. We didn't have somebody in custody spinning different lies about, you know, what happened to her and who did it. So a completely different situation here. And you don't need to make up a lie about somebody that leaves and goes to Venezuela on some boat with a bunch of guys. You don't need to make up a lie that you dropped her off at the hotel, that she hit her head.

And I'm going to tell you, you know, Greta, I have a suspicion that the lie about dropping them off at the hotel and she fell and hit her head — that is because blunt force trauma was used on Natalee's head. And I hate to say this, but they're accounting for injuries, if the body is found, that will be able to be attributed to dropping her off at the hotel. This smacks of the suspect is in custody and they dropped the ball. They lost the momentum. The kid's smarter than the cops.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Mark. As always, thank you, sir.

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