Chuck Geiss at Black & White has wrote an interesting on controversial piece. He discusses the three top stories of 2005, however, we will focus on the ‘Disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba’.
Natalee Holloway’s mysterious disappearance in Aruba during a high school graduation trip drew unprecedented attention from the national media. While fresh news is now rare, a newly published article by Bryan Burroughs in Vanity Fair provides the most recent account of what happened on the island during the weeks following Holloway’s disappearance. The article provides few new facts, but more sensationally it points a finger at the Twitty family for being heavy-handed with the police. Burroughs proposes that their approach hindered the investigation, but the Vanity Fair article gives an incomplete account of what the Twittys and the Holloways endured in the search for their daughter. Moreover, two of Burroughs’ primary sources should be challenged.
Geiss takes his usual no holds bar approach in challenging the two primary sources of the Vanity Fair article, Gerold Dompig and Julia Renfro. First there is Gerold Dompig.
Gerald Dompig, the island’s deputy chief of police, characterizes the Twittys and their American friends as unnecessarily aggressive and unruly during the early weeks of the search.
However, I visited the Twittys on the island two weeks after Natalee’s disappearance, and the family’s temperament was much calmer than I had expected.
Then Julia Renfro. In a story that many have discussed, argued and debated; we could only ask the author whether the source of this information was primary, secondary or tertiary. When asked this was the response we received:
“The Julia Renfro account occurred while I was in Aruba; I was eye witness to the event while driving around the island with Jug. Actually, I saw myself on CNN when I got home from video footage taken when we all approached the courthouse”.
The B&W Geiss article continues …
Burroughs’ other doubtful source is Julia Renfro, an American-born newspaper reporter who works at one of the island’s dailies. She befriended the Twittys at first, but has since turned on them, which is a substantial aspect of Burroughs’s Vanity Fair story. Renfro was seemingly a big help to the family in the initial weeks of the search, but her motives for doing so are dubious. It is my contention she was either a newspaper reporter aggressively interested in getting a story or just someone starved for attention.
The reason Renfro suddenly found the Twittys disinterested in her help was the fact that she also orchestrated, or at least contributed to, one of the cruelest hoaxes of the investigation. Twelve days after Natalee’s disappearance, Renfro suddenly appeared in downtown Oranjestad where Jug Twitty had made an unplanned stop to buy some clothes (the circumstances surrounding how she found him remain mysterious). Renfro was hysterical over news that Natalee had been found dead and her body had been moved to the island’s courthouse. When asked where she had learned these details, she claimed it had come from one of her regular sources, a deputy information officer in the justice department.
What followed was a frantic, ten-block car race to the courthouse made more uncomfortable by the fact that Renfro had pushed herself into the family’s already full minivan (she took a spot on the console), conspicuously inserting herself, perhaps now as a newspaper reporter, into the unfolding story. Upon arriving at the courthouse, a throng of television cameras met the family.
Read the rest of the article in full at Black & White, and decide for yourself.
Discussion Forum for B&W’s, ‘Disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba’