When Beth Holloway's 18-year-old daughter, Natalee, disappeared in the summer of 2005 during a class trip to Aruba, the story gripped the nation.
Since Natalee's disappearance, Beth Holloway has worked tirelessly to bring attention to her daughter's case and discover the truth behind the graduation trip that turned into tragedy.
Even though she still hasn't been found and her disappearance remains as much a mystery as it was in 2005, Holloway refuses to give up hope.
Now, Holloway has written a book about the ordeal called "Loving Natalee, A Mother's Testament of Hope and Faith: The True Story of the Aruba Kidnapping and its Aftermath."
Learn about how Holloway's faith sustained her during the search for Natalee in the excerpt below.
"This is Beth. Tell me wha'cha got."
It's the police spokesman calling the top line. "We have a girl, and we think she is Natalee. Go to Bubali station. We want you to identify her."
About this time Jug, who is out on searches, get the same tip from the island newspaper reporter. "Julia found a girl and thinks it's Natalee. Let's meet at Bubali."
The three women and I run to a cab. "Take us to Bubali station. Please! Hurry!"
Emotions swing into a high-pitched whirl of anticipation. But on the way something doesn't feel right. I've been to this station several times now. We seem to be going the wrong way. Sitting behind the driver on the edge of the seat of this minivan, I tell him, "This isn't right!" He acts like he doesn't understand. I slap him several times on the shoulder. "Please! This isn't the right where!" There's a sinister feeling in this cab. Like he doesn't want me to get there right away.
"It's okay. Don't wurr-rry," he smiles at me in his rearview.
Why is he doing this? And going so slowly?
The physical need to touch Natalee overwhelms me. Both fists are flexing open, then shut, then stretched open again. I want to hug her. Hold her. Touch her hair. Take her home. I reach down between the seat and the console to push on the gas pedal with my hand. Carol, Sue and Martee try to calm me. But I'm frantic. The police spokesman who just called has her picture. He must know this is Natalee. My heart may come right through my chest as it travels from my throat to my feet and back again. Hurry. Just hurry.
We finally arrive to see multitudes of people standing outside of the dark police station. We are the last ones here. Again. The internal island communication system, their covert human network, is apparently fully operational tonight. Everyone present is either a native islander or with the media. They all knew to be here before we even got the call. They all knew.
Jug meets me, and together we walk up to the front of the same police station where I gave my statement and confronted Vader a.k.a. Theodore a few days ago. We are the only two allowed inside. Everyone else waits outside. It's dim in the small waiting room. I am pacing. Again made to wait. Forever. A half hour passes, and no one is talking to us. I use this time to reassure, if not convince, myself that this must be the end of this wretched journey. So after this many days I can hold it together for at least a few more minutes. The people who told us to be here know what Natalee looks like. And maybe she is here and has told them her name herself! Still no one is in sight. I keep looking toward the office area behind the short swinging counter door to see someone – anyone – coming our way. We are all alone. Waiting. In semidarkness. Waiting. Until finally I lose my momentum for urgency and sit down in one of the blue plastic chairs.
More time passes. Then from the left a door opens, and detective Jacobs brings a woman out. Jug and I don't move. She looks like she could be an American. She has very dark hair. We don't know if she's a tourist or if she lives here, but she looks nothing like Natalee. And she is coked or cracked out of her mind. A smirk across her face suggests that she knows she is part of some crazed drama. She's high on drugs, and her head bobs like one of those bobble-headed dogs on a dashboard.
I can't believe I even let myself experience another feeling of "This is it." Why do I do this?
The answer must be hope. What else could sustain a person to endure all this? Hope is the reason I believed Natalee was going to come through that door. Hope is why we react the way we do at all of these strange and excruciating and ultimately disappointing occurrences. It's that glimmer of a promise that the answer will be revealed.
Silent, Jug and I simply walk out of the police station and go our separate ways. The women return to the hotel for an hour or two of rest. Jug rejoins the crack-house and brothel search. All the positive energy created with the unity of hundreds of people over the last day or two expires in one long exhalation. And my very swollen, unrecognizable face, photographed leaving Bubali station soon appears in the media.
One week ago this day Natalee was making plans with her friends to spend her last night in Aruba at Carlos 'n Charlie's. She left there with Joran van der Sloot and hasn't been seen since.