Amigoe; April 10, 2006: Criminal law scholars slate police investigation Holloway
ARUBA/THE HAGUE Ã¢â‚¬” Dutch experts call the investigation method on the disappeared Natalee Holloway strange and unprofessional. They also criticize the actions of the Aruban interim chief of police Gerold Dompig, who got taken off the case last Thursday.
“I cannot understand that the police didn’t immediately search the location of Natalee’s body right after a very important tip”, said Menno Dolman, university professor criminal law in Amsterdam before the GPD (Associated Press Services) in the Netherlands. The location in the sand hills that was searched last week was kept undisturbed for weeks; this could have cost important traces to be lost.
It was not until one month after an anonymous person had called Dompig on the phone and while crying told the chief of police about the location where Natalee’s body was buried that the Aruban authorities came into action. “That is very peculiar”, agreed the law psychologist Peter van Koppen from Maastricht. “Usually, the area gets cordoned off immediately, in order to dig and obtain samples.”
Before they even started to dig, Dompig was already talking to the media about the new indications and the next search. A plain ‘disturbing’ action, is the opinion of criminal law professor in Leiden, Hans Nijboer. “This is a first class mistake.” He says that it is ungodly to talk in public about concrete indication, yet before the search started. “Competent detectives investigate the case first, before they talk to the media.”
For a detective, the media is the last option, explained Dolman to GPD-journalist Floor Ligtvoet. “You do not want to give away information that only the perpetrator may know. If that still happens, it becomes extremely awkward to know whether the details in a later declaration of the suspect are authentic or whether he had read it in the paper.”
It seems that Dompig didn’t care much about this. He large-heartedly scatters with details about the case. But the facts and theories that he opens also contradict each other. He told the American media that Holloway has probably died of an overdose of alcohol and drugs that she had consumed that night. However, he denied that before the Dutch media and came up with a new report. Natalee was most probably raped and killed; that’s what he told them.
These two versions are incompatible, is the opinion of Dolman. He suspects that Dompig used several reports to keep the media on a distance. “It might also be an investigation strategy and Dompig is now drawing off suspects and their environment. Soon as one of them gives away, he runs him/her in”, said Van Koppen.
Dolman does not believe in such strategy. “When a detective tells everyone where the body is, that’s no longer a strategy”, says Dolman. It is more a last option in a deadlocked investigation and the media is being used to settle the investigation smoothly.
The article was printed in amongst others the Brabants Dagblad.