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Missing in Paradise: The Search for Natalee Holloway

Aired June 8, 2005 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, still missing in paradise. Two suspects held in Aruba where the desperate search continues for 18- year-old Natalee Holloway 10 days after the honor student vanished from her senior trip. We'll have all the latest from Aruba with: Chris Lejuez, the attorney for one of the two suspects; and reporting from the scene, CNN's Karl Penhaul; in Miami, Florida, Assistant State Attorney Stacey Honowitz; in Natalee's hometown of Mountain Brook, Alabama, Paul Finebaum, the outspoken radio host with some controversial views on Natalee's disappearance; and Mountain Brook's mayor, Terry Oden; plus psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig. They are all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
You know the story, I guess, 18-year-old Natalee Holloway, a straight-A student from Mountain Brook, Alabama, vanishes in the early hours of May 30th on the Dutch island of Aruba. She had traveled there with more than 100 high school classmates plus chaperones to celebrate her graduation.

The FBI has joined in the search. On Sunday police arrested two former hotel security guards in connection with the disappearance. Earlier today a judge ruled there is sufficient evidence to continue to detain the two men identified as 30-year-old Micky John and 28- year-old Abraham Jones.

According to the defense attorney for one of the men, authorities have mentioned charging them with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, homicide, conspiracy to commit homicide, and kidnapping.

Now Chris Lejuez, you are the defense attorney for one of them. Are you expecting charges to be brought?

CHRIS LEJUEZ, ATTY. FOR 1 OF 2 SUSPECTS HELD IN NATALEE HOLLOWAY CASE: What I have seen now would not justify a conviction, so there is no reason to believe that they will file anymore unless they have more evidence. They have not enough evidence as far in this case.

KING: Why is your client even involved?

LEJUEZ: My client is involved because someone said that they saw a black man in a black jacket and a black pair of pants walking in the pool area approximately around the time that Natalee Holloway probably disappeared. That is the reason that they are being suspected by the prosecutor's office of having committed murder or homicide or (INAUDIBLE) kidnapping, kidnapping with a fatal consequence. There is, however, no reason to believe, no proof, no forensic evidence that in this case Natalee Holloway will not be alive. KING: We're going to attempt to clear up the sound from Aruba with Chris. And hopefully Karl Penhaul can check in with from Aruba. Obviously we're having a little difficulty.

Stacey Honowitz, before we go out folks in Alabama, we don't do that in this country do we? Can a judge order someone held before charges?

STACEY HONOWITZ, ASST. FLORIDA STATE ATTY.: Well, Larry, the way we do it in this country is you can be held. We are picked up on probable cause here in the United States, probable cause to commit a crime. And you can be held until this state actually files formal charges against you.

What happened in Aruba is they were picked up and they were booked on reasonable suspicion. That's the standard over there. So they can held, according to the law over there, I think for another eight days or if the prosecutor asks for an extension in order to file formal charges. So, yes, it is true. You can be held here before an actual formal charge is filed against you.

KING: But what about bail?

HONOWITZ: Well, we have to wait and see in this case if the defense is going to put in for bail. I don't know what the standard is over there. I don't know what the procedure is under the law over there. But certainly this in country, after the formal charges are filed, you are then entitled to ask for a bail hearing. That's how it works over here. Over there I'm not quite sure what they're doing.

But right now, what they're doing is the judge obviously found sufficient evidence to hold these people. There's some kind of link that we just don't know about that this judge found reasonable suspicion or sufficient evidence to hold these two gentlemen to the charges.

KING: Now in the United States, supposing you had a case of someone missing, two people with some -- but you don't have any proof yet, how long could you conceivably hold them? And who would do the holding, the judge?

HONOWITZ: Well, Larry, every jurisdiction is different. In Florida, you can be held for 21 days before you're released on your own recognizance unless the state has some kind of extenuating circumstances to hold you. I think when they were talking about the charges in Aruba, I think the maximum that they can hold them is about 116 days.

But every jurisdiction is different. Every law is different. And certainly motions are made by the defense attorney to say that there isn't sufficient evidence to hold, but like in this case, the judge has to make that decision. In the States it's usually, is there probable cause to hold? Here it was is there reasonable suspicion to hold?

KING: Mayor Terry Oden, the mayor of Mountain Brook, Natalee Holloway's hometown, do you know Natalee?

MAYOR TERRY ODEN, MOUNTAIN BROOK, ALABAMA: I do not know her personally, Larry.

KING: What do you know about her?

ODEN: Well, I know that she was straight-A student, a member of the National Honor Society, the Euclidean Honor Society. Very civic minded, volunteered for many civic activities, just a perfect, perfect student, perfect daughter.

KING: Were all of those student, Mayor, who went on the trip -- were they all from Mountain Brook?

ODEN: Yes, they were. They had all graduated...

KING: Same high school.

ODEN: Right, we only have about one high school here. It has about 900 students.

KING: What's the population?

ODEN: Approximately 21,000.

KING: Paul Finebaum, you're in Mountain Brook -- what is the Paul Finebaum radio network?

PAUL FINEBAUM, THE PAUL FINEBAUM RADIO NETWORK: Well, it's 23- station syndicated network, primarily on sports, Larry. We're also on XM Radio. And this week, we're primarily a sports program, as I've told you, but there has been nothing else, no other topic being discussed right now on our program or any other program in the media, around here, or around the state, or as you well know, around the country, with a couple of exceptions, out in your area, other than Natalee. It's an extraordinary story. And I have been here 25 years. I don't think I have ever seen anything quite like it.

KING: Do you live in Mountain Brook?

FINEBAUM: I do not, sir.


FINEBAUM: Mountain Brook is really just a closet -- a bedroom community of Birmingham. It's very close to downtown Birmingham. Birmingham is a complex community that has about million people, but 54 municipalities.

KING: That's where you're based, in Birmingham?

FINEBAUM: Yes, yes, we are.

KING: OK. Why is this story so huge do you think?

FINEBAUM: Well, I think it deals with a lot of different issues. First of all, you have a beautiful 18-year-old who's in the prime of her life, just graduating from high school, about to go to college. She was going to go to -- she was planning on attending the University of Alabama as a pre-med student. You also have a lot of issues here, which the mayor alluded to a little bit minute a moment ago. You have a number of people, 140, going to Aruba, with seven chaperones, and chaperones has become a big issue.

They're not really chaperones. They accompanied the group to try to be there in case of an emergency. And they weren't there for a bed check. And there are some people who are questioning this. And bottom line, Larry, you have children, there's probably not a parent in the country who, after hearing this story, hasn't asked some very pointed questions about what should I do with my own children?

KING: Do you think a lot of it has to do with the fact that she is white and pretty?

FINEBAUM: It could. I don't need to tell you how your network runs things or any other network. But that probably works a little bit more, or resonates a little bit more around the country than perhaps someone else.

KING: Before we go to break and come back and check in, we'll be taking calls later. Here is Natalee's stepfather discussing this earlier. Watch.


GEORGE "JUG" TWITTY, STEPFATHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY: It's difficult. There was a period there, after about the third day, that you think, well, definitely something's happened that they may find her, you know, somewhere. But as we go further into it and there's no physical evidence, nobody can provide any evidence of any foul play at the present time. So it gives us hope that maybe somebody's holding her somewhere.


KING: We'll be back with more right after this.



ANN JOHN, MOTHER OF SUSPECT MICKY JOHN: I know to myself, my son will never, will never, will never put himself in this kind of a situation. If you tell me my some may tell somebody a bad word, I say -- I'll say, oh, yeah. But put myself in this way to try to kidnap a lady. I say, no, no. I'd rather he rather kill me if he do that (INAUDIBLE) because I don't think my son is so dumb.


KING: We're back. We've had a power outage at the hotel in Aruba. They're working on that right now. We'll go back there as soon as we can. Dr. Ludwig, if you would only imagine what it must be like when you are hoping she is being held prisoner.

DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PSY.D., PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Oh God. I mean, this is a parent's worst nightmare, and as we know statistically, the longer that we don't hear anything, the less likely that we'll hear good news. I mean, there's always a possibility. But what we also know is that teenagers are statistically more likely to be abducted by non-family members. And females are particularly at risk. So, again, we have the statistics that are quite frightening, the situation is very frightening, and it doesn't seem like they're looking for a living person. So, you know, again, this must be horrendous for the parents.

KING: Paul, what are they saying in the community? The kids have gone from that community to Aruba before, right?

FINEBAUM: Many people have been. It's been a senior trip every year. What people are saying here is they're praying and down on their knees and they're hoping. Realistically, deep down, I don't think too many people are optimistic, Larry. How could they be at this late date? But we have seen crazier things happen. But right now there is a lot of hope in this town.

KING: Any criticism in the chaperone department?

FINEBAUM: Yes, there is. A lot of people have brought that up on our program and others. But on the other hand, you're talking about 18-year-olds. And I've had a lot of people tell me, Larry, that they felt more secure putting their child on a plane to Aruba than sending them down to the Gulf Coast in a car where they might be driving under the influence. You have to draw your own conclusions on how much sense that makes. But it has been going on a long time in Mountain Brook, and it's worked very well until now.

KING: Stacey, it must be doubly difficult dealing with a foreign country.

HONOWITZ: Well, absolutely. The laws are different. Procedure is different. The parents are over there now. And really I don't know how much they're letting the parents know about what's going on in the investigation because certainly you don't want to do anything to diminish their hopes of finding her alive. But the fact that you are in a foreign land really puts the pressure on to try to figure out how you're going to cope with this.

And I wanted to go back to one issue that you talked about before with Paul. I'm sure there's a lot of talk about the chaperones and what could have been done? And that happens really in any crime where the victim, at some point, might have assumed some kind of risks. And in this case, they're talking about her getting in a car with three boys and three men, and not knowing what happened after that. So certainly there is going to be some talk about why would she do something like that?

And I just want people to realize that even though someone might assume the risk, like she might have done in this case, it's certainly not deserving if there is foul play involved. And I always go back to the case with the woman that was jogging in Central Park that night and was basically left for dead. Everybody said, how stupid can you be to go jogging at Central Park at night?

It wasn't the smartest thing in the world but certainly she didn't deserve what happened. So I am sure they are keeping their hopes up. And I am sure they don't want to hear why would she get in a car, they just are hoping and praying to God that she is alive. But like you said, in a foreign country and dealing with this, and now you booked people for suspicion of murder and kidnapping, it's a tough road to hoe for these parents.

KING: Mayor, have you talked to any public officials on Aruba?

ODEN: No, I have not. But they were talking about Natalee getting in the car. You know, three grown men could overpower and march a young diminutive female out the door in a heartbeat, and nobody would ever know it.

KING: Is that your...

ODEN: The fact that everybody is -- you know, they're saying that she got in the car with him. Well, she could well have been forced into the car with him.

KING: Is that your prime fear?

ODEN: I would say it certainly is a fear. Yes.

KING: Paul, have you spoken to the family?

FINEBAUM: Larry, I have not. Most of the family is down in Aruba. There are many people in Mountain Brook right now. I don't know -- I don't want to tell anyone what to say or what to do or your guests, your psychologist guest, but I think it's a difficult time to start analyzing what an 18-year-old girl should do or not.

We're all older than 18 and I've made stupid mistakes my entire life and I'm a little bit uncomfortable with this national indictment of a young girl who may have made a mistake and trying to figure out why she got in a car, why she did this.

She's 18 years old, she just graduated from high school. She's certainly entitled to do what she wanted to, and unfortunately she may have made a terrible if not fatal mistake. But I'm getting a little sick and tired of the Monday morning quarterbacks out there determining that she did something wrong when we don't know anything right now other than what your people are reporting from Aruba, which isn't very much.

KING: I know. Dr. Ludwig, to your knowledge, is that going on, that there's an indictment of the victim?

LUDWIG: You know, there always is to some degree because it is so unsettling and it gets us to feel unsafe if we say, hey, you know, crimes and murders can happen to anyone. It's much easier if we say, oh, the victim must have done something in order to create his or her own fate, when the fact of the matter is, and I agree with what your guest said, and I certainly was not indicting her, that bad things can happen to anyone.

What we do know, though, is that teenagers are particularly at risk, especially females, because adolescent females are at the height of looking good. Certainly people who are perpetrators know that, know how to prey on their naivete and their weakness. And their lifestyle makes them more vulnerable, not because they're bad, just because it's their lifestyle. They go out late, they walk alone, especially when you're in a foreign country, there's a lot to negotiate in terms of different cultural norms.

So this girl probably was very naive, and it does sound like there needed to be more chaperoning. Again, we can always say this in hindsight. You know, but certainly no one should be blamed other than the people who caused this.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more in a couple of moments. We'll be taking your phone calls as well. Don't go away.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She was on the trip to Aruba with more than 100 other seniors from Mountain Brook High School near Birmingham, Alabama, celebrating graduation. The celebration took them to a local bar late Sunday into Monday. Police and family members tell CNN, at least 20 other students were with Holloway at the bar. Police say some of her classmates asked her to leave with them but she chose to get in a car with three young men, all locals.




CYNTHIA JONES, MOTHER OF SUSPECT ABRAHAM JONES: God is above! God is above! God knows my son is innocent is and I will go down for it! My son is innocent!


KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. The power outage remains in Aruba but we have got Karl Penhaul, our CNN correspondent on the scene, with us on the phone.

What happened? Is it just at the hotel or all over the island, Karl?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It seems to be across the hotel strip, which is the high-rise hotel strip, which is on the northern and western side of the island, and just as we were coming on air with you, Larry, the power goes out here, the power goes out down for several hundred yards down that way, and also some of the nearby restaurants. They're not sure what the cause is yet.

KING: Is that the hotel where the girls were staying?

PENHAUL: That is precisely it, the Holiday Inn and some of the adjacent hotels, the Holiday Inn where the girls were staying, and also the Allegro Hotel, which is about 100 yards down, which is where the two security guards had been working, the two security guards who are now suspects in this case -- Larry.

KING: Now, what, Karl, is the latest on them? Where are they and what's the accusation?

PENHAUL: The two men, they are a 28-year-old and a 30-year-old. They're in separate jail cells tonight. Police jail cells in opposite ends of the island. One on the eastern tip, the other here on the northern tip. Today they had a hearing before an island judge. And the judge ruled that there was sufficient evidence in this case to keep them in their jail cells for further eight days, and then during that time, that gives the prosecutors time to gather more evidence, to carry out further interrogation. And then in eight days, they'll have to come before a judge and the judge will then decide whether to keep them in custody for a further period of time, Larry.

KING: Karl, was the evidence they had announced?

PENHAUL: No, the evidence wasn't. These are closed-door hearings. And Dutch law is very different from U.S. law and so the evidence hasn't been publicly revealed either to the media, the general public, or to the relatives. The defense attorneys, though, do have access to some of that evidence in some of the dossiers that they've been presented with by the prosecution.

KING: Aruba, can it not, Karl, be very strict? I remember the Oriole pitcher Sidney Ponson, who is from Aruba, he had a problem there, it sounded slight and he was kept a long time.

PENHAUL: Indeed, it is very different from U.S. law, particularly in the case of these two suspects. This stage is best described as formally accused. They've been arrested. They've been formally accused but haven't they yet been formally charged. But they still could face a minimum -- they have been -- they could face like 20 days in a police jail cell and -- before anything else is decided and see how the case proceeds.

KING: Karl, you remain with us on the phone. Stacey, what is the United States difference between accused and charged?

HONOWITZ: Well, the difference is, Larry, when you're arrested for a crime, you are accused of it. Somebody's accused you of doing something. All the evidence is then presented in the States and to the state attorney or to sometimes a grand jury. And a grand jury or the state attorney makes the decision as to whether or not to formally indict you with the charges. Either indictment is filed or an information. And it basically says that the law of the land, or the district that you're in is formally charging you with these charges.

And the difference, and what people have to understand is, sometimes you can of course be arrested for something, and something might look very different on paper when you're arrested, until those days pass by when witnesses are interviewed, evidence is maybe in a lab. Sometimes the evidence isn't there to formally charge, and so you could be arrested on something and then never formally charged with the crime.

And that's what they're doing over in Aruba. As your correspondent said, Dutch law is different. But basically it kind of parallels what we're doing over here. They were -- they were accused of something. There is suspicion, sufficient evidence of a kidnapping, of a murder. And now they're being held without any kind of bond, and they're giving the prosecutors an opportunity to investigate, to find more evidence to determine whether or not they should be released or formally charged with the crime. So that's what's going on now.

KING: Would you gather, Dr. Ludwig, that they haven't answered the questions sufficiently to please the authorities?

LUDWIG: Yes. I mean, clearly, again, it's very hard to make sense of a foreign legal mindset, especially for me. And I think that's where the danger is here. We're trying to interpret something that we don't really know that much about. But obviously they don't feel comfortable charging them with the crime. And perhaps because there is so much media attention, and I'm sure people on this island don't want Americans not to feel safe, that they really are trying to work, look at this case, and go by the books. So they're being very, very careful, which is what they should do.

KING: Karl, have people left the island? Have tourists left because of this?

PENHAUL: There is no real evidence that tourists have started to flee the island because of this, but certainly, the Aruban authorities are very concerned that it could impact tourism, because you will remember, Larry, that one-third of Aruba's economy is made up of tourism and about half a million U.S. visitors come here a day. For that reason, they are pointing out that this is an isolated case, that the island has a traditionally low crime rate, and the crime that does go on, certainly, the tourism trade is rarely affected by violent crime.

KING: You mean half a million a year?

PENHAUL: Half a million U.S. tourists a year. That's about half the total tourism level here.

KING: OK. We're going to take a break. When we come back, we will include your phone calls. I will reintroduce the panel. We apologize for the mishap in Aruba, but such is life. And when the electricity goes down, we have to resort to the phone. We'll be right back. Don't go away.


TWITTY: I'm not sure we are prepared. I mean, we've talked about different things, you know? But we still believe in our hearts that she's out there. She's alive. Somebody's holding her somewhere. Because mine and Beth's thoughts are, if she's alive out there, she's certainly alive and being held, you know, by somebody. She's not out there because she wants to be out there.


KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. With us in Miami is Florida assistant state attorney Stacey Honowitz. In Mountain Brook, Alabama is Paul Finebaum of the Paul Finebaum radio network. Also in Mountain Brook is mayor Terry Odin of Mountain Brook -- Natalee Holloway's hometown. In New York is Dr. Robi Ludwig.

We have the -- we have the electricity down at the hotel in Aruba. So Karl Penhaul of CNN, has handed the phone over to Chris Lejuez. He is the defense attorney representing one of the two men in this case. Which one are you representing, Chris?

CHRIS LEJUEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I'm representing Mr. Jones.

KING: And what have -- do you know him? Or have you met him prior to this.

LEJUEZ: No, I have never met him prior to, this Larry.

KING: What have they told you is he being held for?

LEJUEZ: He's being held for murder one, murder two and capital kidnapping, sir.

KING: Have they told you the circumstances under which they have evidence?

LEJUEZ: Well, they have very, very little circumstantial evidence, very thin evidence. What they have is somebody have said they saw someone who looks like a security guard walking in the hotel at approximately the hour that Natalee possibly could have disappeared. It's that thin, yet the judge instructions here in Aruba has decided that this was enough to call the detention legal. So that the investigation could go on with these people in detention.

KING: So no one saw her get in the car with them? No one saw any violence? Just they saw them in the hotel at the same time, is that it?

LEJUEZ: That's about it, sir. And someone said that they saw him in the proximity of the hotel at some time. We don't know what date, we don't know what hour. And that in this case, apparently sufficient.

The case is so serious that the public -- the prosecutor -- I am sorry, the judge of instructions says that he finds this sufficient to keep them in detention. We have no evidence that Natalee Holloway would not be alive today. And I find it very strange that the judge has accepted this. It's very uncommon for this to happen in Aruba.

KING: What do you think it is then? LEJUEZ: Well, there are many speculations. Some people say it's because the pressure of the international press. There is the pressure that the public prosecutor's office is feeling, having to come up with some kind of result. But I cannot give a personal opinion about that. It could be something else. I don't know.

KING: Is it possible they are holding something back from you?

LEJUEZ: It's not only possible, it's more than probably. It happens all the time here in Aruba. The prosecutor's office does not have the obligation to give us all of the details of the investigation that they're busy with. They give us just enough information to show that they have the right up to that point to keep the person in detention.

KING: What has your client told you?

LEJUEZ: My client has told me from the first day that he was not at that place. He has not been at a hotel at that day and certainly not at that hour in the middle of the night or the early morning. And he has given me an indication of where he has been. He has told this very story to the police, very extensively. I have confirmed this story with his wife and with a friend who was with them on that date. And they confirmed with me all of the things that have happened. So I have no reason to believe that it was otherwise.

KING: Stacy Honowitz, our Florida assistant state attorney listening to that. What do you make of this?

HONOWITZ: Well, Larry, certainly I am not privy to any of the investigation or the transcripts or anything that was presented to the judge. But it's my understanding that as a defense attorney said they're not obligated to turn everything over to them at this point. But there was something that this judge found to legally bind them, to find sufficient evidence. And what I find interesting is that I saw this defense attorney -- excuse me I don't remember his name. I have seen home a couple of shows the last couple of days.

KING: Chris Lejuez.

HONOWITZ: Mr. Lejuez. And I understand in the beginning he was representing both of these defendants and that at some point he decided that he was only going to represent one. And that led me to believe that there was some kind of conflict of interest. That there was a very strong possibility that these two defendants started pointing the finger at each other, or giving statements against each other, which would lend a legitimate reason for a defense attorney to get off of the case.

KING: Well, let's ask him.

Chris, why did you leave one of the defendant? Why did you go to only one?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you go to only one defendant?

LEJUEZ: I beg your pardon? Hello?

KING: Yes, why did you only go to one defendant?

LEJUEZ: The prosecutor called me and requested me to go to one defendant. She said she finds that their stories don't corroborate. I normally would not do that in a case like this. I would have to see the proof that they have, the evidence. And I would decide for myself to do that or not.

In this case, however, consider the very serious consequences that it have for the economy of Aruba, I have decided to follow a request. And I decided to go to one of the suspects.

I must say, I have seen their statements. And there is no real contradiction between the two of them. There would have not been a conflict of interest for me to do both cases.

KING: Thank you, Chris, for clearing that up. We'll take a break. Come back. Go to phone calls with our complete panel. Don't go away.



CYNTHIA DE GRAF, GIRLFRIEND OF SUSPECT ABRAHAM JONES: We went to the Sol (ph) Beach Festival together, me, Abraham and my friend Bernadine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you know he wasn't there?

DE GRAF: He wasn't there. He was with me. He was with Bernadine. We went, picked up our daughter by my mom. We went home. He was even sick. He got up in the morning, went to work. And I know they're going to put this on him, come on!


KING: North Port, Alabama, we go to calls. Hello.

CALLER: Larry, first of all, let me say, I love the show. And being a community 50 miles for Mountain Brook, we wish for the safe return of Natalee.

What I'm wondering is if anyone is checking in the interest of bringing Natalee home or justice? If we can not. In checking the private boats and airplanes for transporting Natalee off of the island? You know, everyone seems to quick to jump on these two men who one them seems to have an alibi. And these other three have been let go. And I'm just concerned in the interest in brining her home. And, you know, pinning this on somebody that this is being over looked.

KING: Possibility Stacey?

HONOWITZ: Well, you know, Larry, everything's a possibility and we don't know. The unfortunate thing is, you know, we're all sitting on these shows. We're talking about -- we're speculating -- what's going on, and we're just hoping that, with the FBI coming in and being called into this, that they are investigating every outlet that they possibly can.

Nobody, of course, wants to send two innocent men to prison. That's not the goal in all of this. But obviously, as I want to tell your viewer, there was something in these statements or some type of evidence to link these two people. They weren't picked out of thin air. Something is tying that we don't know about, but we are hoping that the FBI is investigating.

KING: By the way...

HONOWITZ: and the off-shore boats or any transportation. Anything of that matter.

KING: Does -- does -- Stacey, does the FBI have any jurisdiction?

HONOWITZ: Well, the FBI doesn't have jurisdiction over there. They have foreign jurisdiction when they have some of their foreign agents over there. But it's my understanding, they're assisting. They were asked to come over and assist in the investigation which is all that they can do (ph).

KING: Yes, because they can't -- they can't arrest in Aruba, right?


HONOWITZ: ...somebody might not have, you know, the friends might not have been around.

KING: Is your client very distraught, Chris?

LEJUEZ: Yes. He's being innocently detained.

Coming back to what I just heard just now -- excuse me -- I can tell you that she was in the car with these three local boys when she saw a friend on the street, on the side of the street. She opened the window and she waved to the friend and told her friend that she was leaving with these three boys, while her friend, on the side of the street, said to her, please come out of the car and go with us, and she refused to do that.

KING: And was one of those three boys your client?

LEJUEZ: No, not at all.

KING: How do you know that happened, from the friend?

LEJUEZ: No, I know that from the file that has been handed to me by the prosecutor's office.

KING: Doesn't this, Dr. Ludwig, look puzzling as to why they're holding his client?

LUDWIG: It does, and obviously they want to dot all the Is and cross all the Ts, and you know, again, it's true, nobody wants to hold an innocent man, but everything needs to be explored and I just also want to say that sometimes victims are chosen because they are alone and they are an easier mark and an easier target. So, it's very possible that, for whatever reason, she was separated from the group, which put her in a lot of danger, and anyone who is abroad doesn't have the same freedoms as they would in their home town, and if you're younger, you may not know that.

KING: Chris Lejuez, thanks you very much for -- for spending some time with us. Karl Penhaul will return on the phone. We thank Chris Lejuez, the attorney for one of the accused. We'll take a break. We'll be back with more phone calls. Don't go away.


PENHAUL: Prosecutors have not publicly revealed what evidence led them to arrest these men who are now being held in separate jail cells at opposite ends of Aruba. At a Tuesday afternoon news conference, prosecutors said the two suspects would be held at least another week while they gather more evidence.




GEORGE "JUG" TWITTY, NATALEE'S STEPFATHER: It's just that the laws in Aruba are different, and the way they do their investigations are totally different than they do in the United States, and it's difficult. It's frustrating, but on the other hand, I do feel like that they're doing everything they can do to try to find Natalee.


KING: Karl Penhaul, our correspondent, is back on the phone with us. Let's take a call. St. Louis, hello.

Caller: Hi, Larry.


Caller: Congratulations.

KING: Thank you.

Caller: I just wanted to say we just came back from Aruba, and the people there are absolutely wonderful. They're very concerned about finding her. And I just wondered -- I don't believe either one of these suspects are Aruban, are they?

KING: I don't know. Do you -- Karl Penhaul, are they Aruban? PENHAUL: It depends on the definition of Aruban and that's become a very sensitive definition in this case. Both men were brought up on the island, but their families are black immigrant families from other areas of the Caribbean but they're not of the Dutch descendants normally associated with Arubans.

KING: Are they citizens?

PENHAUL: They are -- they are resident here. That would be the fairest thing to say. They are residents. They're long-time residents on the island of Aruba.

KING: I see. What's the difference, ma'am?

Caller: They just seem to be very concerned about Aruba getting a bad name and that their crime is so low and they do get a lot of immigrants coming over there working, and that seemed to be a concern to them.

KING: Stacey, could a prosecutor be pressured by other concerns?

HONOWITZ: Well, you would hate to think that that would be the motivation for a prosecutor to bring a case, but I know that there is a concern by the people of Aruba because the crime rate is very low over there, and this seems to be, you know, kind of out of the blue. They're worried about tourism. I think one of the big issues, what your caller was really talking about is, is that the Dutch and the influential and the wealthy, that seemed to be the three boys that picked her up in this car and then all of a sudden you're dealing with these two men who are immigrants and working there and just residents, so that seems to be the dividing line -- what's going on over there, and I would just hope that that's not a reason. My sincere belief, as a prosecutor in hearing -- and some of the things that I've heard -- is that there is something linking these two people that, of course, we are not privy to, which you wouldn't be privy to because it's a pending investigation.

KING: Karl, what are the people there saying?

PENHAUL: Again, it's not fair to classify these two suspects as immigrants. I said they're from black immigrant families. Their families are immigrant families, but they, we understand, were born on the island.

One at least, Mickey John, has spent some time back in Grenada, studying. But then he returned to island when he was 17 years old.

He's now 30 years old. He's been living back on the island for 13 years. The other accused Abraham John, I understand, has lived on the island; was born on the island, but the island is certainly now dividing between locals and then bringing in this new distinction of immigrant families.

KING: Paul, that's a big ocean around Aruba. Do you expect this case -- do you think we will ever find a result?

FINEBAUM: You have to have hope, Larry. But I think hope is dimming with each hour.

KING: Mayor of, you too?

Are you are pessimistic, mayor?

ODEN: Well, I would say the hour is late, and the situation is grave, but I would hope that everybody in the United States would be praying; that Natalee will survive whatever fate has befallen her.

KING: We'll be right back with more of LARRY KING LIVE, right after this.



TWITTY: Nobody understands -- nobody would understand the highs and the lows that we've been through. Through the sightings, and this and that, it just -- it's really, really an emotional roller coaster.

Beth, my wife, is a -- she's a very strong person. I think people have seen that in some of the interviews she's done. She plays that strong role, but when we get back to the room it's totally, you know, it's different. She's very emotional.


KING: Trevor City, Michigan. Hello.

Caller: Hi, Larry. Happy 20th.

KING: Thank you.

Caller: My question is, basically, is about the chaperones. Where were they? who were they? and how old they were? and how come they didn't do head checks at night time?

KING: Mayor, do you know?

ODEN: Yes. There were seven of them. They were not chaperones. They were adults. They were there as facilitators on the trip and that was clearly understood before they went. So, they did not do bed checks, that was to the part of their job, and that was -- all was understood before everybody left.

KING: Atlanta, hello.

Caller: Yes, hi. Good evening, Larry.


Caller: My question is concerning -- given the recent runaway bride incident, and the girls use -- the opportunity and the other facts of the case or circumstances of the cases as we've heard this evening -- has any consideration been given to, or has there been any discussion by the authorities that, perhaps, this girl has runaway and disappeared.

Either with some stranger or someone she met or someone perhaps that she's known a while, and that even went to Aruba to meet her there.

KING: Possibility, Robi.

LUDWIG: Anything's a possibility, but my guess is --

KING: That's a hope?

LUDWIG: Yeah, that would be a positive in this situation. It's a possibility, but I would say no in this case. Not with what we hear about this girl's character, it just doesn't seem to fit.

My guess would be it's some type of naivete, being in a foreign land and being targeted in some way.

KING: Karl...

HONOWITZ: Larry, she was packed up and ready to go. I mean, they found her stuff all packed up -- her passport -- would lead everyone to believe that she was packed and ready to go home.

And there's been no evidence, by anybody, that she would have run off with anybody. That's the first thing they're going to investigate in a case like this.

KING: Karl Penhaul, I would not imagine any there's any optimism left is there?

PENHAUL: There still is optimism, Larry. The authorities on the island -- police and chief prosecutors say their main priority is to bring Natalee home alive. The family here remaining very strong, and they say they are hopeful.

They say they feel that Natalee is still alive. They even say they've talked to psychics, who say that they have also seen Natalee alive. But as the days go by, of course, and these charges which all reflect the kind of murder charge or kidnapping leading to death, that seems to indicate otherwise.

KING: Paul Finebaum, you said earlier, you're not optimistic.

Do you think we'll find the whole story?

FINEBAUM: I'm not optimistic about that at all, Larry. I think this is a jigsaw puzzle that may never be solved.

KING: Mayor?

ODEN: I think I would probably have to agree with Paul. But we're still hopeful. We're not giving up yet.

KING: Stacey? HONOWITZ: Well, Larry, you know, there's two people in custody right now, and sometimes that can really bring a turn of events. And I think we're going to have to wait and see. And I think prosecutors are anxious and hopeful.

And maybe these men that are sitting in custody know more than they're leading to. And may be the days of sitting in custody will lead to an answer. So we're going to have to wait and see.

KING: Robi?

LUDWIG: The media attention certainly will help to solve this case, if there is evidence to be found. So, I think that there's a good shot, given how much attention it's getting, that will help us find out more information, rather than less.

KING: Karl?

PENHAUL: Difficult to say --family's hopeful. The island is really hoping that Natalee returns alive.

KING: And we shall, of course, stay on top of this.

CNN has been covering it from the get-go.

We thank all of our guests.

I have a very happy announcement today. We have announced on CNN that Bob Costas will be the major replacement when I vacation.

So, when I take time off upon occasion, Bob Costas, a friend of 25 years, a fellow sports nut, and one of my favorite people in the media, will most of the times, host this program.

We're very happy to welcome Costas to the CNN family. He's an old and dear friend, and I'm sure you're going to love him.

And he'll host Sunday night, by the way, a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE dealing with depression.

We want to wish a very happy birthday to a very special person: former First Lady Barbara Bush. She's 80 years young today and unlike her husband did last year, she not going to celebrate by jumping out of an airplane.

So, to a gracious lady, a good friend of this show, and one of only two women in American history to be the wife of one president and the mother of another, happy birthday, Babs.

Our own Barbara Bush.

Tomorrow night, great hour -- George Lopez is with us. The very funny George Lopez and his wife, Anne. The topic's not so funny: Anne gave George one of her kidneys.

Tomorrow night, the Lopezes will be with us. Right now, we go to New York. I get just excited.

Look at that.

"NEWSNIGHT'S" own, Aaron Brown, who was paged this morning at "Nate and Al's" restaurant, in Los Angeles -- in Beverly Hills -- for some reason they thought you were there.


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