The disappearance of Natalee Halloway has haunted me since 2005. Natalee was a high school honor student, who went to Aruba on a senior trip with classmates, never to be seen again. We may never know what happened to her, only her killer knows for sure. I believe Joran Van Der Sloot killed her. I doubt anyone thinks it was anyone else. Everything points to him. He had conflicting stories, the told an undercover investigator the whole story, on tape, in a cab ride. Then he denied it, saying it was a joke. I cannot imagine what Natalee’s parents went through trying to get to the bottom of where their daughter was.
Van Der Sloot’s father, a judge, even tried to cover up for his son. What a despicable thing to do. I do believe he knew the whole truth of what happened, but collapsed and died playing tennis one day. What he knew went with him to the grave. But, it wasn’t long before Joran committed another murder. In 2010 he killed a Peruvian girl, Stephany Flores, on the 5th anniversary of Natalee’s death. This time he wasn’t so lucky. They tracked him down and prosecuted him. Yesterday he avoided trial by pleading guilty in court and was sentenced to the maximum, 30 years in prison. I imagine the Halloways got some satisfaction from that, at least. At the same time, their daughter was declared legally dead by an Alabama judge. A bitter sweet moment in a tragic situation. Natalee was beautiful girl who was a scholarship recipient, with so much promise; who planned to be a doctor and help others; a life cut tragically short because of a sociopath.
I think the reason this case has bothered me from the start was because I had a daughter Natalee’s age at the time. We are supposed to “let go” of our children, as they get older, and let them live their own lives. It’s such a hard thing to do. When they were babies we were there to protect them 24/7. But the older they get, we have less and less control over what happens to them. They go to school and may run into bullies, pedophiles, drug pushers, fraternity hazing, and so many other people with bad intentions. Can we warned them about every situation? No, we can’t. In this case, an innocent girl took a chaperoned trip. There was no reason to believe she would be in danger. And yet, hours before she was due to come home, her life ended.
I have my own theory. I think someone put something in her drink that night. I cannot imagine her going off alone with three boys otherwise. Joran explained at one point he had her on the beach and she went into convulsions. Maybe that was a reaction to a drug? Maybe she was talking to him at the bar? Sociopaths can be very charismatic people. She may have left her drink there to go to the ladies room at some point and he put something in it. When she had her convulsion, he may have panicked and gotten rid of her body in the water. He may have even drowned her alive, who knows. After all I heard and read at the time that was I concluded. I remember being furious with is mother and father too. They wanted to protect their son at all costs, but never stopped to consider what Natalee’s parents were going through. Because of their silence, another life was taken.
I am glad they found him guilty and both girls’ parents have gotten some measure of justice. I think he deserved the death penalty or at the very least to rot in prison.