Tuesday, June 14, 2005

GROSS INCOMPETENCE: YOUTH AT RISK, PART II

CLICK HERE TO READ PART I


The Aruban beach where investigators are searching for evidence in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway


The blatant negligence in the Natalee Holloway case did not end with her disappearance, but extends deep into the investigation. The handling of the case by Aruban authorities has been a horrible travesty all along, and it's just getting worse.

To begin with, the Aruban police initially took into custody the three suspects, Deepak Kalpoe, 21, Satish Kalpoe, 18, and Joran Van Der Sloot, 17,[1] who were last seen publicly with Natalee. When the three pointed the finger at two hotel security guards, Antonius "Mickey" John, 30, and Abraham Jones, 28[1][2]; the three initial suspects were released while John and Jones were taken into custody. As the investigation progressed, the police once again took the three initial suspects back into custody while keeping John and Jones under lock and key. After being pressured by the victim's family to focus the investigation on the three prime suspects, Aruban police released the two guards, despite the fact that they had not been cleared.[1]

Van Der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers had initially told police that they had dropped Natalee off at a hotel in the care of the two security guards. According to FOX News, the Kalpoe brothers later retracted their story and told police "that Van Der Sloot and Holloway were kissing passionately and fondling in the back seat of the car. Holloway was extremely intoxicated, they said... The brothers said they left Holloway and Van Der Sloot at the beach and headed home."[1] Van Der Sloot, on the other hand, said that the others dropped him off at home and left with Natalee.[3]

Of course I am not privy to the evidence (or lack thereof) and strategy that the Aruban authorities may be keeping from the press, but this inconsistent behavior and the catch-and-release, catch-again and release-again procedure seems to be very unprofessional, to say the least... not to mention that it gave potential suspects the opportunity to tamper with evidence. And the authorities' decision to release two of the five suspects based solely on the other three's changing of their stories was premature. Just because the three suspects are lying doesn't mean that the other two are not involved.

The Kalpoe brothers' vehicles was impounded and a substance initially reported to be blood was found inside the vehicle. But once it was analyzed by authorities in Holland and the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation, it was not only determined to not be Natalee's blood, but not to be blood at all. Since the suspects had already conceded to Natalee's presence in the car, the authorities declined to test the sample further to identify whether it had been one of Natalee's bodily secretions. Okay, now what happens when the prosecution progresses and the suspects change their story again, disputing that Natalee was ever in the car? And what if the substance turns out to be semen from one or more of the suspects? That would potentially disprove claims that they'd had no sexual contact with the victim. Unfortunately, the evidence to prove her presence was never completely analyzed.

Today the world was encouraged as the Aruban police focused their attention on an alleged crime scene, indicating that they were on the verge of discovering physical evidence. But, as police began to search the area, they permitted local volunteers to participate in the search. A group of teens discovered a pair of women's panties, a string, used condoms and condom wrappers, and some kind of duct tape that could have been used as a gag. One of the boys, Charles Rafini, turned the findings over to Aruban authorities after picking them up with his bare hands, essentially contaminating the evidence and potentially destroying the only physical evidence tying the victim to her attacker(s). And what did the Aruban police tell the boy? That he had done a "nice job."[3][4] Sounds like gross incompetence to me.

This whole situation is truly every parent's nightmare: their child disappearing on a foreign island where the laws and customs are completely different from ours. Violent crime is so rare on this tropical island that the local authorities have little or no experience in handling such cases. As a result, they seem to be completely bungling the investigation so that not only does it appear that Natalee will not be found alive, but the case may never be solved. I pray that I'm wrong and that the authorities are deliberately feeding us misleading information, but this eternal optimist is once again pessimistic.

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SOURCES:

[1] FOX News, "Aruba Authorities Begin New Search for Clues", 06/14/05, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,159470,00.html
[2] NBC News, "Aruba Authorities Expand Search Area Near Hotel", 06/14/05, http://www.nbc13.com/news/4607599/detail.html#
[3] "Studio B with Shepard Smith", FOX News Channel, 06/14/05, 4:00 pm
[4] "Big Story with Jon Gibson", FOX News Channel, 06/14/05, 5:00 pm

1 Comments:

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