News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Keep pressure on Aruba to solve Holloway case

Governors of the other 49 states may not be as familiar with Natalee Holloway's disappearance as Bob Riley, but they should not conclude he's indulging in self-serving politics as he calls for a tourist boycott of Aruba.

Politics are hardly the case. He's responding to and identifying with a parent's cry for help.

Beth Twitty, Natalee's mother, is to be commended for not giving up. She first went to the island to find Natalee when she didn't show up at the airport to fly home with her group. Now she's looking for justice and for the peace that comes from knowing.

What happened on the tourist island off Venezuela on May 30 and the subsequent investigation into her disappearance call for drastic action because of the ineptness of the local police authorities.

At this point, asking American tourists to find another vacation spot in the southern Caribbean is about the only pressure the governor can bring against Aruban authorities.

In his letter to other governors, Mr. Riley said missteps, miscommunications and inconsistencies plagued the investigation. He charged that Aruban authorities failed to take the investigation as seriously as they should have.

He's right. Something happened to the 18-year-old Mountain Brook High School graduate on what was supposed to be the last night of her senior class trip. In all, eight men went to jail as either suspects or for suspicion of having information about Miss Holloway. Police authorities subsequently released all of them, and the chief suspect, Joran van der Sloot, is in the Netherlands attending college.

Barring any official U.S. State Department action, the governor's appeal to his peers will at least heighten public awareness that Aruba isn't a Garden of Eden tucked away in the sun drenched Caribbean.

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