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Pay attention to Holloway, Flores murders

When Natalee Holloway went missing five years ago, quite a lot was made of all the attention that was focused on her mysterious disappearance. The suggestion was that the only reason the media, and, hence, the public, was so interested was because Holloway was pretty, blonde and American. I confess it is a thought that crossed my cynical mind. But this week’s news about the murder of another young woman is a horrific wake-up call that, in fact, there may not have been enough attention, after all.

Five years to the day that Holloway disappeared while vacationing in Aruba, a 21-year-old Peruvian woman was found stabbed to death in the hotel room of the man last seen with Holloway. Joran van der Sloot, 22, has been charged in the death of Stephany Flores. Hours after his arrest, law enforcement authorities in Alabama announced extortion and fraud charges against him, alleging he demanded payment in exchange for revealing information about the death of 18-year-old Holloway and the location of her body. Sloot must be presumed innocent until the charges are proven, but his behavior -- refusing to cooperate and changing his story about Holloway -- is as appalling as was the ineptitude of Aruba authorities in investigating the case, as well as the prurient tone of much of the news coverage.

Holloway’s mother, Beth Twitty, is said to be “overwhelmed” at the news of Flores’s death. To be sure, she must be thinking “if only” -- maybe if Aruba police weren’t so slow off the mark, if more people had cared or if even more attention had been paid. Too often, violence against women is, if not condoned, accepted. I still recall -- with shame -- the days when as an editor I would consign the murder of a woman to a few short paragraphs deep inside the paper because it was “just a domestic.” Never mind that if you tally up all the women who have been victim of domestic abuse, you would have a near epidemic. Sadly, it is too late for Holloway and Flores, but that shows why it is never wrong to make a big deal out of every instance in which a woman is brutalized.

By Jo-Ann Armao  | June 4, 2010; 1:27 PM ET
Categories:  Armao  | Tags:  Jo-Ann Armao  
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Comments

There is a show on CNN called "ISSUES" that will talk about this monster Joran tonight. Jane Velez-Mitchell is the host and she is a bit outspoken about this issue and is definitely on the side of Natalie. The whole show will cover it tonight. Thank goodness he is finally in jail--for GOOD!!!!

Posted by: JVMfan | June 4, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me it was because of her looks and color. Stop denigrating the Aruba authorities.

How many people are murdered every year in the U.S. and don't receive ANY media attention? How many are murdered and the murderer is never caught? How many children, in the US, are molested and the sex offender is not caught until years later after many more children have been molested? Let's stop pretending that her looks and color did not drive the story - it's an insult to all the other people who are murdered and/or molested and do not make. Even in death looks and color matters in how you’re covered by the media.

Posted by: rlj1 | June 4, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"Sadly, it is too late for Holloway and Flores, but that shows why it is never wrong to make a big deal out of every instance in which a woman is brutalized."

Men and children too.

Posted by: masonjahr | June 4, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

It is important for us to make a fuss everytime a HUMAN BEING, BE IT A MAN OR WOMAN, IS KILLED!

HOPEFULLY, IF JURAN IS PROVEN TO BE GUILTY, HE WILL PAY DEARLY FOR HIS CRIME.

MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON THE YOUNG SOUL OF NATALIE HOLLOWAY.

Posted by: barrysal | June 4, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Van der Sloot's name is linked with two murdered young women and also his presence at two other assaults on young women. There is something wrong about why he has not been taken to task to date. Hopefully the Peruvians will now get the job done. This man is dangerous and should not be on the streets of any nation.

Posted by: npsilver | June 4, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe in Karma, but it's interesting to see how this will play out. He's not in Aruba now, and MOMMY AND DADDY CAN'T HELP HIM. JUSTICE!

Posted by: barrysal | June 5, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

This columnists writes:

"Sloot must be presumed innocent until the charges are proven..."

I am a lawyer, and this statement is incorrect. To illustrate the problem, ask yourself, By whom must Sloot be presumed innocent? By you? Of course not. Based on the information you have about the case you are perfectly within your rights to consider it more likely than not that the man is guilty. You are under no obligation of law, logic or ethics to presume him innocent. Neither is Ms. Armao, although she may if she wishes.

In the USA a jury is instucted to presume the accused innocent until persuaded by the evidence adduced at trial that no reasonable doubt remains of his guilt. (I don't know about Peru.) The jury is obligated to do this, although whether any particular juror honors the obligation is usually impossible to tell.

It is difficult to make a presumption that goes against one's common sense and life experience. The next time you see some formulation about the presumption of innocence like Ms. Armao's (and it won't be long if you read newspapers) remember this, and presume or not as you wish.

Posted by: Roytex | June 5, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Roytex wrote:

"I am a lawyer ...."

Are you Starr Jones?

...

"The next time you see some formulation about the presumption of innocence like Ms. Armao's (and it won't be long if you read newspapers) remember this, and presume or not as you wish."

Thank you for your permission almighty lawyer. You have my permission to pontificate as you wish.

Posted by: craigjjs | June 5, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Roytex wrote:

"I am a lawyer ...."

Are you Starr Jones?

...

"The next time you see some formulation about the presumption of innocence like Ms. Armao's (and it won't be long if you read newspapers) remember this, and presume or not as you wish."

Thank you for your permission almighty lawyer. You have my permission to pontificate as you wish.

Posted by: craigjjs | June 5, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

He's not a kid anymore. He needs to be tried, and if found guilty, punished for his crime. HE'S NOT IN ARUBA ANYMORE. ARUBA IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE, BUT IT SHOULD BE BOYCOTTED BY AMERICANS FOR HOW THEY HANDLED THE NATALEE CASE.

Posted by: barrysal | June 5, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

In addition to being a lawyer I have a couple of advanced degrees in the humanities. I hope I might have helped Ms. Amarao and others, perhaps even craigjjs, to understand that they are under no obligation to presume Mr. van der Sloot innocent of the crime with which he has been charged in Peru. Not being in possession of all the facts just yet they will of course want to keep an open mind. That is different from a presumption of innocence. Based on the facts reported so far, if I must presume one way or the other I would presume that he is guilty. Especially suspicious is the fact that he chose to leave the country in an unconcentional way and one that would leave no paper trail for the authorities to discover.

Posted by: Roytex | June 6, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

The guy is a serial killer. A spoiled brat child who lives life without purpose or cause. He can't help it, he was raised that
way.

He is the kind of man everyone would love to hang.

Posted by: COWENS99 | June 7, 2010 1:39 AM | Report abuse

Some of the background that has surfaced on the Holloway case is unnerving. But the problem is that people are spoiled by the fanciful world of TV police shows that solve cases in an hour. Real life isn't like that, and the sooner we realize that, the better off we'll be.

Posted by: Puller58 | June 7, 2010 5:50 AM | Report abuse

Van der Sloot, Van der Sloot, Van der Sloot, a name we should remember as a person who skirted the law in Aruba. This person knew the law, because he grew up in it. He also had dad who, as a former Judge and Lawyer, was able to protect his son.

So, what we are looking at is a possible serial killer who was under the protection of Aruba's laws. Or under those friends of the law! We should look at this from differing angles, but try looking at it from this angle; "the Judicial System."

Here in Florida we recently had a 20 year old woman found dead in her boy friend's home. Just two years out of high school, and she was dead. Natural causes? Allergies? Forced injections of drugs into her body? We do not know.

Why am I telling you this story? Read on. On March 30 the poor girl died. On THE 31st of March a person calls the authorities. The next day, a high ranking Sheriff's Department person, out of his environment, came to the rescue. He called the issue an "Unattended Death." That "No one seems to know how she died." Is that not the responsibilty of the legal system's investigators? "Unattended Death," equals a CASE CLOSED. Who does this guy know in the judicial system? Is there a Van Der Sloot in America? YES.
This is the judicial system at work. Van der Sloot had the same system working for him! He did unmentional things and the legal system of Aruba kept him protected from being exposed for what he was and is.

Now, Van der Sloot is out of his enviroment. In another country's judicial system, not Aruba, nor in Okaloosa County, Florida. The judicial system should expose him for who he is. I would like to label this, "The Van Der Sloot Phenomenon!" This person in Florida as well was not included in a woman's death! Is there a law that allows women to die with out the slayer to stand trial!

Finally, Natalee will have her justice. Presumed innocent or not, she will have some kind of justice served.

(I am not speaking on behalf of the family, this is my own opinion. For it was my daughter, I would ask for one hour alone with Van! Then after interrogations give him back to the Peru Police intact.)


Posted by: johnb11 | June 7, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

@rij1.

You are a hateful person. Rather than make the laws and media work for everyone, you would rather they worked for no one. Do you think they would work better for the people you care about, if there was no sympathy for victims? Be careful what you ask for, you're likely to get it...

The rule of law system needs to work for everyone to function properly. There are groups that don't receive adequate coverage, but the solution is to step up coverage for people who are poorly served and bring them into the system. It is not a good idea to attack the entire system and to live in anarchy. Most people do poorly in a system when basic rules on decency are not observed.

Posted by: persimonix1 | June 9, 2010 3:31 AM | Report abuse

Also, rji1, grow up. The Brown vs Board of Education legal case was in the 1950's, a lot of racial stuff went down in the 1960's and 70's. Generations ago. Get past black and white. Live in a more complicated world. Many of us do.

Neither me, nor Natalee Holloway were in the generations that you are fighting against. We both were born long after Martin Luther King Jr. gave his speech and was assassinated. If you want allies and sympathizers, you need to meet people as they are and not as your prejudice expects them to be.

Posted by: persimonix1 | June 9, 2010 3:45 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, I just read my comment and would like to clear it up. "For IF IT was my daughter..."
This is how it shoul have been written.
By the way, her boyfriend was never taken into custody and still roams our streets.

Posted by: johnb11 | June 9, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, I just read my comment and would like to clear it up. "For IF IT was my daughter..."
This is how it should have been written.
By the way, her boyfriend was never taken into custody and still roams our streets.

Posted by: johnb11 | June 9, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Hey @rij1.
With a tainted judicial system we are experiencing, that makes it a POLICE STATE, (an "Anarchy" as you state it). The law is the law, and law enforcement are to enforce the law. In some situations, in this example, the law enforcer becomes the judge and the jury!

Posted by: johnb11 | June 9, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

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