What was Beth Twitty’s response to Gerold Dompig’s Vanity Fair remark “that the biggest obstacles to finding Holloway have been her mother and stepfather, Beth and Jug Twitty, themselves”? Pretty much what most people already were thinking and knew after hearing such a comment:
Oh, it’s just the exact opposite. We gave them 10 days. We gave them 10 days to clean up their story, clean up the mess, to lawyer up. We gave them 10 days too long, Jane. That’s exactly what happened.
What did ex-FBI agent Harold Copus think of Vanity Fair writer Burrough’s comment, “I really don’t see any evidence of corruption or a cover-up here”?
Copus: And I question the “Vanity Fair” reporter, if he can’t find corruption, then he probably needs to start back again. I think it’s pretty plain thatÃ¢â‚¬”I’ve been down there. Any of us can do a Google search. You can see we have organized crime figures from America in Aruba.
The rest of the interview.
But first: the family of Natalee HollowayÃ¢â‚¬”have they done more harm than good during the investigation into her disappearance? A scathing new article in “Vanity Fair” claims the family demanded too much, too soon from Aruban investigators in the days after Natalee vanished.
Some of the biggest complaints are coming from the island’s deputy police chief, Gerold Dompig. Now, in the article, he says Natalee’s mother and stepfather sidetracked the investigation from the very beginning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYAN BURROUGH, “VANITY FAIR”: He believes that the biggest obstacle to finding Natalee and solving the case has been the family itself, that in fact, their push, the calls for boycotting and things like that, have been counterproductive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what do we make of all of these allegations against the Holloway family? LIVE AND DIRECT tonight is Natalee’s mother, Beth Holloway Twitty.
Beth, thanks for being on the show. And I have to say, I know this has to be very difficult for you, but we want to give you a chance to respond to this “Vanity Fair” article, which basically says you were so aggressive, the police were pressured into arresting the three young men prematurely, which then backfired and ruined the case against those very suspects. What do you say?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY’S MOTHER: Oh, it’s just the exact opposite. We gave them 10 days. We gave them 10 days to clean up their story, clean up the mess, to lawyer up. We gave them 10 days too long, Jane. That’s exactly what happened.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I guess what they’re saying is 10 days wasn’t enough, and that had they had more time, they could have followed them. Perhaps they would have gone back to the scene of the crime. Maybe they could have listened to their cell phone calls and monitored their e-mails, that kind of thing.
TWITTY: Well, that’s wishful thinking. If only that would have happened. Remember, within the first 24 hours, we knew who the suspects were. We knew the persons that Natalee were taken from Carlos and Charlie’s. We knew the license plate of the gray Honda they placed her in. We knew the condition that Natalee was in. We knew the behavior or the conduct in which they engaged in with Natalee.
And then not only that, Jane, within 72 hours, we knew that their first story was totally fabricated, that within the first 72 hours, I faced a room of 12 — at least 12 detectives, Aruban and Dutch detectives, and a lead detective, Dennis Jacobs (ph), and they knew after we reviewed video footage from the Holiday Inn casino lobby that my daughter had never been brought back to the Holiday Inn. They knew that those suspects were fabricating a story from day one.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And one of the reasons we’re talking about this tonight is because of this “Vanity Fair” article, which was written by Bryan Burrough. And he does his own assessment of the Aruban authorities. Let’s hear that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURROUGH: What they would have liked to have seen happen is for the suspects, the three young men, to have remained at large for a period of weeks, where they could have been followed, where their phones could have been tapped, they could have been surveilled. That is SOP. That’s how they normally would have done it. In this case, because of pressure from the family and the media, they were forced to make arrests that they call premature.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Beth, I have to say that I want to stress nobody knows what it’s like to be you right now unless they’re in your shoes. And so very few people in the world are. So I have a lot of sympathy for your predicament. But we have to ask you about some of these things that were in this article.
For exampleÃ¢â‚¬”and we do have this quote that we can put up on our screen. This is from the deputy Aruban police chief Dompig. And he says, “It was like nothing could satisfy them, nothing. Basically, Jug wanted us to come over and beat a confession out of these boys. We couldn’t do that. These guys are hard-headed, especially Joran. We couldn’t get a confession.”
He is talking about your husband. What do you say to that?
TWITTY: Well, Jane, something that the family knewÃ¢â‚¬”and we have to keep reminding everyoneÃ¢â‚¬”after 72 hours — 72 hoursÃ¢â‚¬”we knew definitively that these suspects were not telling the truth. We knew that my daughter had never been brought back to the Holiday Inn. Of course we were becoming frustrated. Who wouldn’t, at this point? You know, weÃ¢â‚¬”and what was so unbelievable about this, is they knew this information and still chose to pursue the two security guards on June the 5th.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now, stay right there because I think you’re going to have some more to say about the next person we’re going to bring in. One of the people mentioned in this new “Vanity Fair” article is Julia Renfro from the “Aruba Today” newspaper. Julia is on the phone live tonight from Aruba.
Thank you for joining us. You are mentioned quite a bit in this article, and basically, what it says is you were friends with Beth, you initially championed her cause and helped searched for Natalee. But at some point, you turned and ended up filing a police complaint, it says, against her husband, Jug. What’s the story there? Did you really do that?
JULIA RENFRO, “ARUBA TODAY” NEWSPAPER: Yes, I did. Actually, you know, everything you just said is absolutely correct, in that I went all out to help Beth in every way, to help find her daughter. And at some point, I believe it was early July, her husband, Jug, got very upset with me and actually physically pushed me and yelled and screamed at me in foul language in front of my children.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, was Beth there?
RENFRO: Yes, she was.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, Beth, I want to hear what you have to say about this.
RENFRO: Well, Jane, you know, tempersÃ¢â‚¬”you know, you are frustrated. We were searching for answers. But as far as Jug physically pushing Julie Renfro, no, that did not happen. I was there. There was another witness there with us, and also a cab driver was there. I’m sorry thatÃ¢â‚¬”if she felt thatÃ¢â‚¬”misconstrued that situation. But there were senior several witnesses there, and no, he did not physically push her, but there was a heated moment, yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I guessÃ¢â‚¬”I don’t want to dwell on this, but I think the whole theme of the article is that there was a certain high-handedness, a certain arrogance. And I really want to get your side of the story on that because that’s a pretty serious charge. Beth?
TWITTY: You know, Jane it’sÃ¢â‚¬”I’m sorry, Jane…
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead…
TWITTY: … frustrationÃ¢â‚¬”when you know the answers are there, when the family has hand-delivered the suspects to the authorities, and getting them to act on anything with any sense of urgency just became unbearable. You know, Jane, we pleaded with them early on, Tell us what you’re gathering. Tell us how you’re surveilling these guys. Tell us, are you tapping their phone lines? Are you recording their phone conversations? We never could get any answers from them.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Thank you for that. And nobody knows, as I said, what it’s like to be you. And anybody who thinks they could act with grace, being in your shoes, well, let them try it first.
But let me ask Julia, what’s next on this investigation? A lot of people feel that it’s really reached a dead end.
RENFRO: Well, I don’t believe it’s (INAUDIBLE) a dead end. I did speak to Commissioner Dompig today, and his team of detectives are continuing to investigate every angle still of Natalee’s disappearance. And from what I understood, they received some new information today that they’re going to follow up with tomorrow, and I would imagine, speak to the family about. And it sounds pretty serious.
I know that they did for quite a while put a lot of emphasis and a lot of hope into those Jamie Skeeters tapes, hoping that thatÃ¢â‚¬”those tapes would be the key to a possible rearrest of the trio.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and of course, that’s just another controversy now.
RENFRO: Right. But unfortunately, those tapes turned out to be not very serious and basically don’t have anything pertinent to the case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, we don’t know that yet. The FBI is looking at those tapes, trying to determine exactly what one of the suspects, Deepak Kalpoe, said. But you said that there might be some new information. Give us a hint. Anything? I mean, people are desperate for new information on this case.
RENFRO: Absolutely. And I believe that, as we all know, and as Beth knows and the family knows, it needs to go through the right vehicle, and that would be from the police to her lawyers.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Do you know anything? I mean, you’re just not telling us, or you don’t know?
RENFRO: I don’t know.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, let’s bring in a former FBI agent Harold Copus. He has been following this case from the very beginning. He has been to Aruba. You’ve been listening to all of this. It’s getting really, really ugly. Is all this distraction going to keep the mystery from being solved?
HAROLD COPUS, FORMER FBI AGENT: Well, I think it certainly will. It seems like that what the police need to do is go back, do their job. We’ve been six months. We know that there’s absolutely no way these three guys could have acted alone. They had to have more help. Let’s just make this case and get past all this stuff. Pointing fingers from the chief back to Beth is really non-productive. It really merely means, as you know, pointing (INAUDIBLE) back at yourself.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But the Aruban investigators say they are also very frustrated. In fact, we have the “Vanity Fair” reporter describing their frustrations. Let’s listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURROUGHS: I really don’t see any evidence of corruption or a cover-up here. What you see is a police force that’s done the best they can, but that, at least initially, moved slowly because they’re presented with an awful lot of cases of missing American tourists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, one of the things that I found most fascinating about this “Vanity Fair” article is that it suggests at the very end that there is a sandbar about 200 feet, I believe, offshore, and this is a sandbar where lovers go to make out and fishermen sometimes watch them. And if you dump a body on the far side of that sandbar, it would wash off towards Panama. I hadn’t heard any of that previous to this, and they’ve been searching everywhere. What do you make of that?
COPUS: Well, that’s always interesting. Actually, I don’t know about the sandbar. I definitely know about the fishermen’s hut. And I question the “Vanity Fair” reporter, if he can’t find corruption, then he probably needs to start back again. I think it’s pretty plain thatÃ¢â‚¬”I’ve been down there. Any of us can do a Google search. You can see we have organized crime figures from America in Aruba.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course. All right. Thank you so much.
I want to go back to Beth. Final thoughts. I mean, what’s next for you? Some people say this case really has hit a wall. Are you going to give up? Are you going to go back to Aruba and keep plowing ahead?
TWITTY: I don’t think this case has hit a wall. I think what has happened in this case is they have terminated our line of communication, so the family is in the dark about where the investigators are in this investigation. What we’re hoping, though, is from the help of John Q. Kelly, that maybe he can open up a line of communication and bring us in the loop as to what’s going on. I’ve been hearing about possible new arrests or persons of interest being questioned through the media. So it would be nice to be getting that from Deputy Dompig or Karin Janssen herself.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hopefully, you will. And please keep us posted.
Thanks for joining us