Hats off to the “Volunteers” who made the effort to search for the missing teen, Natalee Holloway.
From the AP:
ORANJESTAD, Aruba – About 700 volunteers joined police, soldiers and FBI agents on Monday, combing scrubland and beaches on Aruba’s southeastern tip in an unprecedented search for an Alabama teenager who vanished a week ago on a trip to the Dutch Caribbean island.
Aruba’s government let 4,000 civil servants off work early at 2 p.m. to hunt for Natalee Holloway, 18, of Mountain Brook, Ala. The expanded search began a day after police charged two men in her disappearance.
Kenneth Angela and three co-workers from Aruba’s lottery company were among the hundreds who boarded 10 buses in the community of Santa Cruz, about six miles from the capital, Oranjestad, to be taken to the search site.
“It’s the first time Aruba has done such a big search,” said Angela, a 31-year-old lottery supervisor. “We want to keep Aruba’s name good. That’s why we’re here, to help find Natalee.”
The initial idea for the search called for an islandwide effort, but later changed focus to the southeastern area of Seroe Colorado and part of San Nicolas, police commander Judy Hassell said. San Nicolas is where authorities arrested the two men who were charged in the case.
Hassell said Aruba’s 74 square miles, slightly larger than Washington, D.C., made a full search of the island impractical. “We’re going to do as much as we can,” he said.
One of several search parties scoured barren terrain spotted with sequoia cactus, prickly pear and sea grass in view of Valero oil refinery. A helicopter hovered overhead. Other groups searched abandoned houses, remote roads and bushes. Lizards skittered across their paths.
Some of the volunteers were tourists, including Bill and Sarah Wise, both 22, of Cleveland. “We couldn’t leave without trying to help a fellow American,” Bill Wise said.
Sarah Wise said the case touched her because she and Holloway are about the same age. “It could be me,” she said.
Hassell said she asked the Justice Ministry for permission to conduct another big search Tuesday but had not yet received permission.
The coast guard said Aruba’s shoreline already had been searched on foot, by boat and helicopter, but the new search was more thorough.
Holloway’s disappearance has shaken the sense of security many of Aruba’s 97,000 people took for granted. Only one murder and six rapes were recorded last year. So far this year, there have been two murders and three rapes on the island, where the average annual income is a comfortable $22,000.
I will just make one comment that struck me a little with the number of volunteers. Aruba, this is a search for a missing girl and if you want to make the comments that its a sake island and tourism should not be affected than you best show you care more than 18% turnout for a search. The mission is to find Natalee Holloway; however, the Aruban government let people off work to help aid in the search. 700 out of 4000 people is not all that acceptable in my eyes.
If anyone on Aruba has better numbers than what AP is reporting please tell me. But I would really like to know where the other 3300 + Arubans were seeing that some of the volunteers were tourists?
Graphic of teen’s disappearance in Aruba