A Curious Development

Over the Easter weekend, officials in Aruba made yet another arrest in the Natalee Holloway investigation — arrest #8, if I’m not forgetting anyone. A nineteen-year-old Dutch national with the initials G.V.C. (variously identified as Godfried or Geoffrey van Cromvoirt) was taken into custody and has since been ordered held for eight days pending another hearing. Reportedly, relevant forensic evidence has been collected from a shirt, belonging to the young man, found on the south side of the island. According to Joran van der Sloot’s attorney, G.V.C. has no connection whatsoever to his client. Joseph Tacopina suggests that police appear to be taking the investigation in a new direction.

This arrest has the potential to be a major development in the case. The New York Post reports:

Aruban cops have arrested Geoffrey van Cromvoirt, 19, who’s father is the security expert in charge of video surveillance at the Holiday Inn where the 18-year-old Alabama student was staying the night she vanished, sources told The Post.

The younger van Cromvoirt works as a member of the island’s High Visibility Team, which keeps an eye on the island’s powder-white beaches 24 hours a day in a bid to thwart crime against tourists.

He was busted after authorities took into evidence a white T-shirt with the beach-patrol team’s name on it from his dad’s security group, the sources said.

For me, the first question that comes to mind is: Where has this t-shirt been for the last 10 months? If it’s been in police possession all this time, why is it just now being connected to someone? If it was only recently discovered, can any forensic evidence found on it be considered reliable and probative of anything?

I admit to having difficulty considering the possibility that Joran van der Sloot and the Surinamese brothers, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe, are without blame in the disappearance/death of Natalee Holloway. They’ve said and done plenty to merit the scrutiny of the hairy eyeball of suspicion. They recklessly and shamelessly pointed the finger at two innocent men, Mickey John and Abraham Jones, as the last to be seen with Natalee. They repeatedly lied to investigators, family and friends regarding the series of events during their time spent with Natalee. They lied so much that if they were to tell the truth now — and perhaps they have — no one would believe them. They have only themselves to blame for that. If it turns out that they are innocent (relatively speaking), they should have no expectations of an apology from anyone, in that regard.

Nevertheless, I must also acknowledge the niggling uncertainty I’ve felt since last August. When Joran first came out with the story that he left Natalee alive and well on the beach, I considered it just another variation in the litany of his lies. As I considered the cell phone and computer evidence that appeared to corroborate his story, I couldn’t shake the notion that he might — just might — be telling the truth. Perhaps someone else came along after Joran abandoned her and did harm to Natalee. Perhaps, we, as well as Aruban law enforcement and the mainstream media have been looking in the wrong direction all along. Mind you, I’ve tamped that doubt down more often than not. Joran’s absurd story about how he lost his shoes and the disparity between his and the Kalpoe brother’s versions of how Joran got home were enough to evoke suspicion. But as the saying goes, truth is often stranger than fiction.

The arrest of G.V.C., to some degree, edifies the niggling doubt. I certainly haven’t written off Joran, Deepak and Satish as suspects, but I’m open to the possibility that they are not the guilty party. It also injects a bit of optimism that the case might eventually be solved. It’s still a longshot but better (I hope) than slim to none. I’m as interested as the next guy or gal in seeing where this leads.

I feel like I have more to say on this subject, but I don’t have time to collect my thoughts just now. I’ve already taken so long to finish this entry that I’m probably way behind in coverage. I’ll update later if necessary, or delete this paragraph if not.

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