Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: It's a Plane, It's a Bird, It's Natalee!

What's a police force to do? Once upon a time, tips went straight to their investigators and they sorted through them, acting on the ones they thought had merit. Granted, sometimes they ignored a good tip and wasted time on a bad one, but the world today is a whole new animal. If the police response isn't good enough, the tipster goes public.

Take the Natalie Holloway case. Some vacationers on a cruise went snorkeling and took some pictures underwater of the fishies. Months later, while looking at one of the photos, they suddenly thought that they saw
a skeleton under the water and, of course, Aruba plus possible skeleton means Natalee Holloway! They became excited and contacted the FBI. But they didn't stop there. The story (somehow) got out to the media and the couple did the rounds of news shows including Nancy Grace. Divers on Aruba haven't yet found anything.

The problem for the police is having a tip they don't particularly find credible going public and then there is a clamoring for them to follow it up, no matter how silly. Many tips have come in from people stating they have seen Natalee here and there and everywhere (in probably more locations than that traveling gnome) and you just can't follow them all up if there is no good reason to do so. Police pockets are not that deep that money can be tossed just to make everyone happy.

I was asked what I
would do if I were the police in this case. Well, I have looked at the photo and I am not convinced it shows anything more than rocks and coral that look sort of like a skeleton. I might do the simplest, cheapest thing like put out a request for anyone who remembers the couple or the snorkeling boat to contact police. Then if I got an exact site, I might let volunteer divers from the area dive there and give a report. But that is probably all I would do because I do not think more is worth doing.

And what of the swamp that Joran van der Sloot says he dumped Natalee in? Should the police dredge the whole swamp based on a pathological liar's ridiculous story? I don't think so. But, that story is also all over television and the Internet, so there are those already angry the police aren't searching the heck out of the muck.

And so it goes on. Sometimes someone really does have information that is being ignored by the police and I can understand that they would want to push for it to be taken seriously, by whatever method possible. But, we should give the police a bit of a break. We need to realize that they have to decide which are the best tips to follow up and which ones to ignore. Just because they are not digging a hole to China doesn't mean they aren't trying to find Natalee.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If Aruba would have investigated this case appropriately in the beginning there would be no need to go to the media or other outlets. They made their own bed in this case. People of the US and elsewhere have stood up for justice for Natalee, NOT the powers that be in Aruba.