I have never written before about the 2005 disappearance of 18-year-old Natalee Holloway, a high school senior who was on spring break in Aruba when she vanished after a night of hard partying. I decided not to put her on Charley, because (A) she disappeared overseas and (B) I am swamped with cases as is, and hers would take forever to write. It’s not as if her disappearance is lacking in publicity. If Natalee’s parents had written to me requesting a profile, I suppose I wouldn’t have had the heart to say no. But as it was, I made the judgement call and stuck to it.
Natalee Holloway’s name was, at least for a time, a household word in Aruba and in the US. I believe it was a combination of factors: (A) The fairly scandalous nature of the whole thing (B) Her youth and beauty and girl-next-door persona (C) The wealth and prominence of both the Holloway family and the family of suspect Joran van der Sloot and (D) Natalee’s mom really knew how to work the press. I only wish other disappearances could get as much attention as hers did — though I suppose if that were the case, the media would cover nothing else. This case is an example also of how publicity alone cannot solve a disappearance. Look at Natalee, or at Madeleine McCann. Both of them have been missing for years with no end in sight. They share some common denominators: both of them attractive girls who disappeared while on vacation, both with respectable well-to-do parents, etc.
Anyway, it’s possible that a scuba-diving tourist from Pennsylvania photographed Natalee’s skeleton — or, at least, A skeleton — during their vacation in Aruba. The article does show the picture in question but otherwise has a paucity of info. Namely, exactly where and when was the photo taken, and why did the tourist not come forward until now?
I suppose the picture could be of a skeleton. Or it could be of an oddly shaped rock or coral formation. Unless the tourist can provide a reasonably precise location, the picture isn’t going to be of much help — though I’d agree that Natalee’s body (assuming she is dead, which is likely) was disposed of at sea.