Natalee's Friends Go 'On the Record'

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," June 21, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: We're live in Aruba, where the frantic search for Natalee Holloway has been under way since she vanished on May 30. The Alabama teenager was on an unofficial graduation trip with more than 100 classmates when she disappeared.

Joining us live from Birmingham, Alabama, are two of Natalee's best friends, Frances Ellen Byrd and Ruth McVay. They were both on the trip with Natalee.

Frances Ellen, when you were in Aruba, did you ever feel unsafe?


VAN SUSTEREN: Did you go to Carlos and Charlie's, Frances Ellen?

BYRD: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did you think of it?

BYRD: It was just a place for us to go at night and all be together. Since the sun was down and we weren't on the beach anymore, we just went there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ruth, you were present when Natalee met Joran van der Sloot, is that right?


VAN SUSTEREN: Where were you?

MCVAY: We were in our hotel casino. And that was the first night that she had ever met him. Contrary to other stories that are circulating, she did not know him before that night.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. And when you say the fist night, was that the night of May 29 into the 30th, when she missed her flight home?

MCVAY: Yes, ma'am.

VAN SUSTEREN: And Ruth, how did you happen to notice him? What was it about him that caught your attention?

MCVAY: He didn't. He was sitting at our blackjack table, and he just seemed like a normal teenager. He wasn't flirting. He wasn't really outgoing at all. And Natalee, just in passing, introduced herself and walked off. And nothing was strange or out of the ordinary about him at all.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did there come a time when Natalee made some sort of date — I don't mean a date, I mean, an arrangement — with him, with you, with everybody, to go to Carlos and Charlie's?

MCVAY: Not with him. Absolutely not. With us. She went with all of our friends. He wasn't with us. He didn't go with us.

VAN SUSTEREN: How is it, Ruth, that both Joran and Natalee both ended up at Carlos and Charlie's?

MCVAY: He came with his friends. He had told us that night that Sunday was not a fun night on the island and that no one goes out. So we found it ironic that he showed up.

VAN SUSTEREN: Frances Ellen, what happened when you were ready to take your flight that next day and Natalee wasn't there? What did everyone think?

BYRD: Oh, we knew that something was wrong because Natalee is one of our most responsible friends. And when she was not with us that morning, we were worried, and we were right there with the chaperones, trying to figure out what was going on.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ruth, did you actually see Natalee leave with Joran from Carlos and Charlie's?

MCVAY: No, I actually left an hour before the club closed.

VAN SUSTEREN: Either one of you, do you know if any of your friends saw her leave with him?

BYRD: No. If one of our good friends had seen her, we would never have let her get in the car with him, ever. Absolutely not.

VAN SUSTEREN: Frances, when you left Carlos and Charlie's, was it just Natalee that was left behind in your group of friends, or was there a bunch of you?

BYRD: No, I don't know how many people exactly, but there was a lot of people there at closing time, including the local people and all the other people that were in Carlos and Charlie's that night. And when we all left, there was just a huge group of people waiting outside for taxis, and I never saw her get into that taxi.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ruth, what time did you actually leave Carlos and Charlie's that night or that morning?

MCVAY: Around midnight.

VAN SUSTEREN: I know that Natalee left after you, but any idea what time Natalee left?

MCVAY: From other people talking and the time that the club closed, around 1 a.m.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Frances Ellen, Ruth, thank you both.

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