Statement Analysis®

Natalee Holloway's Disappearance

Natalee Holloway, 18, disappeared while on a senior class trip to Aruba. She was there with classmates from Mountain Brook High School located in Mountain Brook, Alabama a suburb of Birmingham. Natalee was last seen on May 30, 2005 at about 1:30 a.m. leaving Carlos'n Charlie's a popular bar and grill. She left the bar with three companions, Joran van der Sloot (17), and brothers Deepak Kalpoe (21) and Satish Kalpoe (18) in Deepak's car. The three young men initially told investigators they dropped Natalee off at her hotel. After further questioning, they changed their story and said that they dropped Natalee and Joran off at the beach near the Marriott Hotel at about 1:40 a.m. Joran claims that around 3:00 a.m. Satish picked him up and they left Natalee alone on the beach. She has not been seen since.

On June 9, 2005, Joran and the Kalpoe brothers were arrested for reasonable suspicion of murder and manslaughter involving Natalee's death. They were denied bond and taken into custody. Lacking hard evidence that a murder had occurred, on September 3, 2005 the three suspects were released from police custody. Natalee remains missing and the case remains open with Joran and the Kalpoe brothers as the prime suspects.

In February 2006, Chris Cuomo with ABC News interviewed Joran Van der Sloot on the show "Primetime Live." The showed aired on February 23, 2006. Even though you can buy a transcript of nearly all of the Primetime Live shows, ABC is not offering the transcript of Joran's interview. I wonder what they are afraid of. On their website, ABC has posted exerts of the interview. Let's take a look at a few that stand out.

Cuomo: Why should you be believed after all of the lying that you have done in this situation?

Van der Sloot: There is absolutely no reason to believe me.

Cuomo: Would you believe you?

Van der Sloot: Um, I wouldn't probably not believe myself no.

Since people will sometimes be deceptive but rarely lie, we should believe what people tell us. Joran tells us that we should not believe him. "There is absolutely no reason to believe me." He states it a second time when he says, "I wouldn't probably not believe myself."

On March 1, 2006, FOX News aired part one of Greta Van Susteren's interview with Joran van der Sloot. The interview aired on the show "On The Record w/Greta Van Susteren." Unlike ABC News, Fox posted the entire unedited transcript on their website. Here are some excerpts from the interview.

Van Susteren: Is that what you want? (For the case to be solved.)

Van der Sloot: Of course, that's what I want. That's the one thing that will clear me, and that's the one thing that will clear anyone else involved with it that doesn't deserve to be."

There are two reasons why a person would use the phrase "of course." Joran may be expecting us to take for granted what he is saying is true. However, we only believe what people tell us. If you tell me that is what you want then I will believe you. If you tell me "of course that's what I want" then I have to believe you have not told me what you want.

Some people have a habit of using this phrase. They will constantly interject it into their statement even though they are being truthful. In part one of his interview, Joran uses the phrase "of course" four times. When you consider the fact that he used the phrase "you know" 46 times and the phrase "I mean" 40 times, it would appear that he does not have the habit of using the phrase "of course."

Van Susteren: Why did you agree to talk to us?

Van der Sloot: I agreed to talk to you because I thought it was important to hear another side of the story, as well. I look at it in one way that, you know, there's one side of the story, there's another side of the story, and then there's the truth. And I'm telling you the truth and everything that happened and not just one side from the story. I'm not going to tell you I'm a good person. I'm not going to tell you that I'm an angel or that I've done good things, no, because it's not like that. But I'm here to tell the truth and to let people know what happened and exactly what went on."

What would your reason be for talking to the media? Most people would want the world to know that they did not harm Natalee. That they do not know where she is. Joran never makes these denials in this interview. Yes, he wants his side of the story to be told and yes we can believe he is giving us truthful information. The question is, is he withholding any information?

Van Susteren: Interested in any of them at - at the poker table? (Joran said that he met Natalee and her friends at a casino.)

Van der Sloot: Interested? No, not really. I was more talking - the girl that was sitting next to me, I was - I thought she was pretty and I was talking to her. And when I went - what the point was for going to Carlos 'n Charlie's was I wanted to actually meet up with her.

Joran answers the question with a question. This means he was asked a sensitive question. By answering with a question, he is stalling for time to think about his answer.

He answers with a "no" but then says "not really." People use the word "really" as an emphasis but often times it weakens the statement. It tells us Joran had some interest in one of the girls. He confirms this when he says he went to Carlos 'n Charlie's to "meet up with her."

When people use the unique word "actually" they are comparing two thoughts. Van der Sloot is comparing meeting up with her with what? We are not certain. Perhaps he is comparing meeting her for drinks with sleeping with her.

Van Susteren: Had you made any agreement or arrangement with Natalee at that point to leave with her or anything?

Van der Sloot: No, not at all. That came very spontaneously. She's like, 'OK, you want me to go with you?' And I was like 'OK.' And I saw her go up to some of her friends. I don't know what she said to them. And then, yes, then we - then we ended up leaving. The plan was to go to my house.

Notice the last part of his answer. As they are getting ready to leave the bar, Joran tells us that Natalee was leaving with him and the plan was to go to Joran's house. Nineteen questions later we find the following Q & A.

Van Susteren: Any discussion between Carlos 'n Charlie's and the car between you and Satish or you and Natalee?

Van der Sloot: No, just between me and Natalee. We were speaking English to each other and I asked her if she wanted to go back to her hotel and that's when she said that she wanted to - she asked me if I - if I had a big house or not and then - then she said - I said to her "Do you want to see my house?" And she's like "Yes, I want to go to your house."

Joran says he asked Natalee if she wanted to go back to her hotel. He then says, "that's when she said that she wanted to" but he does not finish the sentence. He then sets the stage for a discussion on going to his house. He then claims Natalee said, "Yes, I want to go to your house." There appears to be a discrepancy here in reference to going to his house. Earlier in his interview he tells us that while they are getting ready to leave the bar "the plan was to go to my house." Now as they are walking to the car he tells us that is when they decided to go to his house.

Everything a person says has a meaning. There is a reason why a person mentions something or why he phrases it a certain way. Why does Joran tell us he and Natalee were speaking "English" to each other? He never mentions this at any other time during his interview. This is called an unusual statement that should jump out at you. Apparently it did not catch Van Susteren's ear because she ignored the statement. Unusual statements are sometimes the most important information in the statement.

The fact that he says they were speaking English tells us there was a time when they or someone was not speaking English. I believe Joran speaks Dutch. Perhaps Natalee picked up a little Dutch while in Aruba and was trying to converse with Joran in Dutch. Maybe Joran was teaching her Dutch. Their conversations in Dutch were not going so well so they decided to start "speaking English to each other." That's one possible explanation. A more sinister explanation is that the three boys, Joran, Deepak and Satish, were speaking to each other in Dutch. That means Natalee would not have known what they were saying. Perhaps they were discussing their plans for the night. When he turns his attention back to Natalee he has to switch to English and that is what caused him to say, "We were speaking English to each other." As an investigator you want to recognize this and find out what was going on. In my analysis of Van der Sloot's confession, we find out why he said "We were speaking English to each other."

Van Susteren: On the beach you weren't directly in front of the Marriott, you were a little bit north of the Marriott is that right, you call it the Marriott beach but you weren't directly in front of the hotel?

Van der Sloot: At that point, we were basically almost directly in front of the Marriott Hotel.

Van Susteren: Did you cut through the hotel to the beach?

Van der Sloot: No, no. You didn't really cut because you're right at the - the right side of the Marriott Hotel, all the way at the right. She didn't really cut through - through the hotel but you were walking on the hotel property where there's beach chairs and all that stuff.

Joran uses some odd pronouns in his answer. He was asked if he and Natalee cut through the hotel to get to the beach. Instead of answering "we didn't really cut" he uses the pronoun "you." He then states that "she didn't really cut through." Where did Joran go? If he was with Natalee, then he should have used the pronoun "we." Twice he used the word "really" which is not needed. This tells us that you do have to cut through the hotel or at lest partially though the hotel to get to the beach. He finishes his answer using the pronoun "you" instead of "we." The Aruban authorities believe that Natalee and Joran never went to the beach that night. Perhaps that is what Joran is telling us by changing his pronouns. Changing pronous is an indication of deception.

Van Susteren: What was your intention at that point to have sex with her?

Van der Sloot: That was my, yes, that was my intention, yes. That was my first intention.

If you have a "first intention," then you have to have a second intention. If you were interviewing Joran, you would want to find out what was his second intention.

Van Susteren: So you got out of the car. Did you have sex with Natalee?

Van der Sloot: No, no, not...

It appears Van Susteren did not let Van der Sloot finish his answer. He answered the question with a "no, no" but then he started to say something else, "not..." Was he about to say "not at that time"? Then again maybe the "not" was his attempt to say "nothing happened."

Van Susteren: Other people walking on the beach?

Van der Sloot: Yes, there was - the time that I started walking the other direction there was only one couple that I walked by because most of them were at the actual Marriott Hotel. At that (INAUDIBLE), there was only one couple that I actually walked by.

Van der Sloot is supposed to be describing his walk on the beach with Natalee. However, three times he uses the pronoun "I" and not the pronoun "we." Did he walk past this couple alone? Where was Natalee at this time?

The word "actually' is not needed. His use of this word tells us he is comparing walking by these people with not walking by these people. There is a good chance he/they did not walk past another couple on the beach.

Van Susteren: Did Satish pick you up in his car or his mother's car?

Van der Sloot: In Deepak's car.

Van Susteren: So, it's the same car that dropped you off?

Van der Sloot: Yes.

Van Susteren: Did you say 'Where's Deepak'?

Van der Sloot: Yes, that was - of course that was the first reaction when I - when I came there. I walked over and I sat in the car and I was like, you know, "Where's Deepak?" He said, "Oh, he's at home on his computer." And that's when I, you know, I told him, you know, the girl's still on the beach and, you know, she wanted me to stay there with her and, you know, I want to go. I want to go home. What do you do? And he reacted like, you know, OK (INAUDIBLE) "Let's go, you know, let's go fast and let's leave, you know, like, you know, not really caring about her. Let's just go and leave her there." And, I was like, "OK" so (INAUDIBLE) we really went without even saying goodbye to her or without even really seeing her and telling her at that point that we were going to go.

Joran uses the phrase "of course." It appears he wants us to take for granted that he asked, "Where's Deepak?"

Six times he uses the phrase "you know." Three other times he uses it but attributes it to Satish talking. He uses the phrase 46 times in part one of his interview, so we know he probably has a habit of using that phrase. However, to use it 6 to 9 times to answer a question draws suspicion. This may be a sign of tension.

He states that Satish said "let's go fast and let's leave." Why is Satish in such a hurry? If Natalee walked off the beach and came up to the car before they left, you would think they would offer her a ride back to her hotel. Joran claimed he initially offered her a ride from the bar back to her hotel. Joran then uses the word "really" twice which weakens the statement. "Without even really seeing her and telling her at that point that we were going to go." The word "really" indicates that he did see her.

Here is an excerpt from part two of the interview which aired March 2, 2006.

Van Susteren: Up until getting that phone call from your father, did Deepak say anything to you unusual or anything that stands out in your mind?

Van der Sloot: No, not really.

Greta is referring to the phone call Joran received form his father the night after Natalee disappeared telling Joran there were people at his house who wanted to see him. Joran answers the question with a "no" but then he adds the phrase "not really." This weakens the denial. Chances are Deepak did say something unusual or something that stood out.

Here are some excerpts from part three of the interview which aired March 3, 2006.

Van Susteren: Think it's going to be solved?

Van der Sloot: I think it'll be solved. I think...

Van Susteren: Why?

Van der Sloot: Because there's - there's - I mean, it has to be solved, for everyone involved. I think Aruba is doing everything they can to solve it, and I think it will be solved. I really believe deep down inside that it'll be solved.

It appears Van Susteren cut Van der Sloot off with his first answer. He was about to tell us something and she did not let him. We can consider this lost information.

As to why he thinks it will be solved he shows some deception. Deceptive people will try to convince you they are telling the truth. Joran does this with words like "I really believe" and "deep down inside." The word "really" weakens his denial.

Van Susteren: Is Natalee dead or alive?

Van der Sloot: I don't know. I mean, there's nothing...

Van Susteren: What do you think?

Van der Sloot: There's no evidence at all to prove anything, not to say that she's alive and not to say that something happened to her. I mean, deep down - deep down inside, I don't think - I don't think that she's alive anymore. But I mean, there's every - anything - anything could have happened. Anything could have happened. I mean, I really don't know.

Order is important. There is a reason why one thing is mentioned before another. Look at Van Susteren's question, "Is Natalee dead or alive?" By mentioning "dead" first, it tells us that Van Susteren thinks Natalee is not alive.

Van der Sloot tells us that he does not think "that she's alive anymore." Everything a person says has a meaning. Why add the word "anymore"? It is not needed for us the reader but for some reason he needed to put it in there.

His use of the word "really" weakens his denial that he does not know if she is alive or dead.

Van Susteren: Other than the lie about the Holiday Inn and the two guards (INAUDIBLE), did you lie to the police at all?

Van der Sloot: That's what I said to you about that, that Deepak Kalpoe and Satish dropped me off at my house. That's (INAUDIBLE)

Van Susteren: So two lies, essentially.

Van der Sloot: Yes.

Van Susteren: Any other lies?

Van der Sloot: Any other lies? No.

Van Susteren: Know anything else about this?

Van der Sloot: No.

Van Susteren: Nothing about what happened to Natalee?

Van der Sloot: No.

These are the last five questions of the interview. Van der Sloot does not answer the first question "Did you lie to the police at all?" He gave an answer but it did not answer the question. This means he is withholding information unless he answered the question in the inaudible portion of his answer.

He answers the second question with a "yes" but that was easy for him to do. Van Susteren did not ask him "Did you only tell two lies?" She used the word "essentially." What Van der Sloot is saying is "Yes, I essentially only told two lies." That leaves the possibility he told other lies. Perhaps they were just fibs.

Van Susteren then narrows it down and asks him "Any other lies?" Van der Sloot then answers the question with a question. He does it in a classic way by repeating the question. Notice he did not wait for Greta to answer his question. This is a clear indication he was asked a sensitive question and was stalling for time to think about how to answer it.

Van Susteren finishes the interview by asking him if he knew what happened to Natalee. Van der Sloot answers with a "no" but again this is easy for him to do because of the way Van Susteren worded the question. She used the word "nothing" which is a negative word. She is essentially telling him how to answer the question.


Here is a summary of the things Van der Sloot stated in his two interviews.

- He told us we should not believe what he says.
- He used changing pronouns which is an indication of deception.
- He made an unusual statement when he said "We were speaking English to each other."
- He won't tell us what he thinks happened to Natalee.
- When asked if he told the police any other lies, first he did not answer the question, then he answered the question with a question.

There is no doubt that Joran Van der Sloot has withheld information. He has not told us everything that happened the night Natalee disappeared. He has shown several signs of being deceptive. English may not be his first language and may explain why some of his answers appear to be deceptive. Still, he gave numerous answers that need to be explored. Perhaps the biggest thing that is missing from his statements is a denial. Half the world probably thinks he had something to do with Natalee's disappearance. Even Van der Sloot himself said that if he were in someone else's shoes he would view himself as a suspect. Yet, from what I have read, he never denies causing harm to Natalee. He never states, "I did not kill her" or "I did not harm her" or "I do not know what happened to her." This is how a guilty person acts because people do not want to tell a lie. So, they avoid making these kind of statements / denials.

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