Natalee Holloway Missing Persons Center to open in Washington

The Washington Post says a missing persons center named for Natalee Holloway will open in Washington D.C. next month. It will be based, appropriately enough, at the Museum of Crime and Punishment and will be a nonprofit that assists families of the missing and promotes safety.

When I was in D.C. last June, I actually visited that museum with my friend Jeff. We went on the weekend, a day or two before I left for home. I don’t remember seeing Natalee mentioned there, but it’s been awhile. It was a pretty cool museum, at any rate.

Possible Holloway lead fizzles

Earlier I wrote that some tourist thinks they photographed a skeleton (Natalee Holloway’s?) off the coast of Aruba. Well, that lead is going nowhere fast: a forensic pathologist says the “skeleton” is just some rocks.

Of course, maybe it isn’t rocks, but even if it’s a skeleton, they’d have to find it again, and prove whose bones it was.

Possible break in Natalee Holloway case?

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.