Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Holloway: Aruba chief to start over

Holloway: Aruba chief to start over

"Do you have children?"

That's the way Dave Holloway, formerly of Clinton, responds when people ask him how he's coping with the disappearance of his daughter, Natalee.

"If you do, you know exactly how I feel," he said, referring to tightly strung emotions tinged with loss and frustration since his daughter went missing May 30 on the last night of her senior trip to Aruba.

Instead of preparing to celebrate Natalee's 19th birthday today, Holloway was packing for his fifth trip to the Caribbean island to personally take part in the search for the missing teen with the help of Texas EquuSearch volunteers and Aruban investigators.

Natalee Holloway, who grew up in Clinton, moved to Mountain Brook, Ala., after seventh grade when her mom, Beth, married George "Jug" Twitty. The teen had traveled to Aruba with Mountain Brook High classmates and chaperones.

"With the new Aruban deputy police chief (Gerold Dompig) in place, it's like starting all over," Dave Holloway said in a phone interview. "He says he's going back to the beginning and going forward from there.

"Even if I'm not searching for her in Aruba or following up on tips on the computer here in Meridian, she's still on my mind," he said. "It's hard to concentrate on anything else.

"She remains on the minds of many of her friends and former neighbors in Clinton, including Clinton High Principal J Reeves. Reeves and his wife, Wanda, were neighbors when Natalee and her brother Matt, now a high school junior, were growing up in the Cascades subdivision.

"We continue to pray for Natalee and her family. Hopefully, they will soon be able to get the answers to the questions that have to be haunting them daily," Reeves said.

Part of what keeps the story of Natalee's disappearance front and center is the mystery surrounding it, he said. "The answer could be very simple, or it could be very complicated. No one can figure it out."

While Beth Twitty worked to spread the word, Holloway concentrated on a physical search. He spent days and nights combing the island that stretches 20 miles long and 5 miles wide.

"It's a small island, but it's surrounded by ocean. Then there are other islands and other countries," he said. "Is there more to it than just these three (suspects)? I can't say. I don't have evidence that points one way or the other."


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