Video: Aruba Update

updated 10/12/2005 9:14:42 PM ET 2005-10-13T01:14:42
TRANSCRIPT

With nobody in custody in Aruba, it has been a quiet month in the case of missing Alabama teen Natalie Holloway. However, recent statements by former person of interest Deepak Kalpoe talking about his and his friends' interactions with Holloway on the night the girl disappeared, have some wondering whether there may be more arrests on the horizon.

Gerald Dompig, the deputy chief of police in Aruba, joined MSNBC's Dan Abrams on Wednesday to discuss the status of the case.

To read an excerpt of their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

DAN ABRAMS, MSNBC HOST:  Chief Dompig, thank you very much for taking the time to come on the program.  We appreciate it.  Let me first ask you, are you re-interviewing Deepak Kalpoe, as a result of the audiotape?

GERALD DOMPIG, ARUBAN DEPUTY CHIEF OF POLICE:  At this moment, not yet.  We have requested, as you know, the official tapes, or the original tapes.  ... I don't know if I can (call) it a misunderstanding, but the first reaction we got through the lawyer of the family was that we could only get the tapes from the Dr. Phil show if we went on the show, and that was not going to happen.

We want to solve the case.  We don't want to be part of a show.  And as a result of that, I have received a call from the gentleman, Skeeters, yesterday...

ABRAMS:  He's the one who actually asked the questions on the tape.

DOMPIG:  Exactly.  Exactly.  The ex-police chief, I think.  And we had a very good conversation for quite a while.  And I have explained to him, from one chief to another chief, that this is very important to us and that we really wanted him to hand over the tapes to us as soon as possible.

ABRAMS:  And he is going to do that now?

DOMPIG:  He is working on it ... you could say that the glitch was that -- I understood that the producer of the company of the "Dr. Phil Show" wasn't pleased because they said that they didn't -- they never put any conditions on it.  But we were informed differently.

But that's not the issue right now.  More important is to me that we do get the tapes as soon as possible. ... Because I assure you that, if these tapes are legitimate, it could turn around the case.

ABRAMS:  Why is that?  Is what he says on that tape inconsistent with what he said in interviews with the police?

DOMPIG:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  They always denied having sex with this young girl.  And so, in looking at the tapes, to watch if this is really what this gentleman has said, then it is totally contrary to what he has declared at our police station.

ABRAMS:  So, if those tapes are verified by you, are you going to re-arrest Deepak Kalpoe?

DOMPIG:  Of course, that's one of the strong possibilities.  Don't forget that we do have to follow tactical issues and strategies.

The issue, also, is that, in Aruba, we don't know the plea bargains.  It's not allowed within our system.  So we do have to follow different rules and regulations.

But I assure you that, once this is verified, and if it's legitimate, the case will turn around fully.  And it will be for us absolutely enough new information to talk once more to this young man, or, as a matter of fact, with maybe to all three.

ABRAMS:  So what would you do -- let's again assume that you're able to verify this tape.  Joran Van Der Sloot is living in the Netherlands right now.  Would you demand that he return?

DOMPIG:  That's a possibility.  We will have to go through the judge of instruction, of course, for every new activity which you could say basically is evasive for whatever reasons, because people have constitutional rights.

If we want to do searches and we want to arrest people within a case like this, we do have to go to a judge.

ABRAMS:  So let's be clear.  Up to this point, Deepak Kalpoe has denied having had sex with Natalee that night?

DOMPIG:  That's correct.

ABRAMS:  What about the other suspect, Joran Van Der Sloot for example?  Did he deny repeatedly that he ever had sex with Natalee that night?

DOMPIG:  They all denied.  And I'm glad you asked you that question, because there's also some rumors going around from I think part of the family that Joran supposedly declared in one of his statements that he had sex with this girl in his home or his apartment.

ABRAMS:  Yes.

DOMPIG:  There's no mention nowhere in the statements of that. 

ABRAMS:  Let me let you listen to this from Beth Twitty.  And then I want you to respond.

DOMPIG:  OK.

-- Begin video clip --
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, MOTHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  I've seen several of Joran's statements.  And I don't know why he was released.  He has her coming in and out of consciousness repeatedly throughout his statements.  You know, he admits to bringing her to his home.  And he even gives a date and a time, 1:40 a.m. on May the 30th, and, you know, has sex with her in his home.
-- End video clip --

ABRAMS:  So you're saying that that is simply not true?

DOMPIG:  Not true.  As I said earlier, also, we are re-reading all the statements at this moment.  And there's no statement of that kind.

The only statement that comes close is that he had a plan -- he wanted to go to the house to have sex or whatever, and they stopped in front of the house, but they did not leave the car.  So they didn't go into the house.  That's his statement.

And I think that maybe somewhere, somehow Beth saw the statement -- it was translated, or she didn't get the statement completely the way it is.  But I assure you this is the statement.

ABRAMS:  We have heard from official statements from the authorities in Aruba that Joran Van Der Sloot made inconsistent statements.  True?

DOMPIG:  That is correct.

ABRAMS:  What were they inconsistent about?

DOMPIG:  Well, it would take me, I think, a little over two days to go over all the inconsistencies.  None of the stories match up, let me put it that way.  So when it comes to believing this individual, we know in which category to place him.

ABRAMS:  All right.  But when you say that none of the statements match up, he never admitted to having sex with Natalee, correct?

DOMPIG:  No.

ABRAMS:  He never admitted to killing Natalee or knowing what happened to Natalee, correct?

DOMPIG:  No.

ABRAMS:  The inconsistencies were, when was he on the beach with her, did they go back to his house, et cetera?

DOMPIG:  Exactly, details.

ABRAMS:  Was there a major detail he was inconsistent about?

DOMPIG:  I can't comment on that, because talking about that would really also expose future strategies and tactics we have.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Fair enough.  What about the brothers?  I mean, we talked a little bit about Deepak.  Were their statements inconsistent, in terms of what they said happened?

DOMPIG:  That is correct.

ABRAMS:  Your office and many of the authorities in Aruba have have been criticized for not arresting all three of them very early on, people criticizing you for waiting 10-something days to finally arrest them, saying the evidence was destroyed, et cetera.  What's your response to that?

DOMPIG:  Well, let me explain -- try to explain shortly.  First of all, our systems of criminal law are different.  In the United States, as I did a couple of trainings at the FBI with the FBI, it is -- I know that they have plea bargaining.

If this would have happened in the states, you'd probably arrest all three, see which one is the weakest, and try to cut a deal with him.  And that's the way it's done in your country.

We don't have that plea bargain tool in our system.  So we have to follow different rules.  That's one.

The second thing is that these boys, they were seen last with Natalee.  But they had a clean slate.  They didn't have any criminal activities in their past.  So, as you would say, they didn't have a rap sheet.  So there wasn't any reason to think that their first story wasn't right or something -- or there was foul play or whatever.

Thirdly, don't forget that we have very soon, within the window frame of eight, nine days, we started to monitor them, meaning that sometimes choosing the moment of arresting depends on whether you think that you have monitored enough or that you want to monitor a little further.

ABRAMS:  Right.

DOMPIG:  So, without really going into specific details, I'm just trying to explain to you that the moment of arrest doesn't really say anything about the fact that we-what we thought of them, or what we planned, or even what we knew of them.

So, although it was a bit mind-bothering to the outsides, looking at us from the outside in, I can assure that this was carefully looked at by the prosecutor's office, by the investigating team.  At that time, with the information that we had to our disposal, at that time, it was not wise, in our opinion, at that time, to arrest them very early.

ABRAMS:  Do you think that you made any mistakes in the context of this investigation?

DOMPIG:  Of course.  In any investigation, after the fact ... you're second-guessing each other within a team...

ABRAMS:  Specifically, what do you think that you should have done differently?

DOMPIG:  Oh, well, sometimes you talk to people and you categorize their information in a certain category and later on you feel that maybe you have used the wrong category and given it the wrong priority.  Those kind of things.  So those are always judgment calls. ... But in any team, all over the world, colleagues within a team sometimes second-guess each other.  That's police work.

ABRAMS:  Do you believe that Joran, Deepak and Satish were involved in Natalee's disappearance?

DOMPIG:  Well, at this time, I think that all three persons know something that they are not telling, at least not telling us.

ABRAMS:  Something about her disappearance?

DOMPIG:  Exactly.  And I go by the rule of thumb that, in the first 40 days -- as I said in a different program -- the first 40 days, law enforcement has probably also already spoken to the perpetrators. 

So we feel strongly that we have already spoken to them.  And there's no one else outside this group that could be involved or responsible. 

So sometimes people will ask us that, "Are you not tunnel-visioned?  Maybe you should look at other possibilities."  Of course.  We did that.  But we still feel that, every time you go on a path, a different path, that path leads back, comes back to these three boys.

ABRAMS:  So you, again, have no other even possible suspects in connection with this case?

DOMPIG:  At this time, no.

ABRAMS:  And you don't expect to find anyone, do you?

DOMPIG:  To tell you the truth, that's just from -- sometimes it's a gut feeling, as an investigator.  I do not think so. 

ABRAMS:  Do you expect that, at some point in the relatively near future, that the three of them will be under arrest again?

DOMPIG:  Well, it's very difficult to answer, but let me tell you this.  If these boys are guilty of harming this girl, I need them to be behind bars as soon as possible.

ABRAMS:  Has the pressure from the outside been hard for you to deal with, I mean, the criticism, the second-guessing, et cetera?

DOMPIG:  Yes, because, when you're investigating a case, any criminal case, you have to abide by the law, you have to make a lot of judgment calls, and you have to try to stay focused on the facts, while everybody around you is very emotional, and the family, friends, and even the press.

But it's hard to stay focused.  And it's hard to stay with the facts.  Because, at the end of the day, only the facts will come in front of a judge.

ABRAMS:  Let me ask you about the father of Joran.  He was under arrest for a brief period of time before a judge released him.  Do you think that he knows something?

DOMPIG:  Well, he is, has been, and still is a person of interest.  And I wouldn't like to say more than that at this time.

ABRAMS:  But let's be clear.  A person of interest in connection with Natalee's disappearance ... or in connection with something after the fact?

DOMPIG:  Both.

ABRAMS:  Finally, let me let you hear this -- another piece of sound from Beth Holloway Twitty, talking about a statement that she gave to the authorities that she seems very concerned about.  And I want to give you a chance to respond.

Here's what she said on September 4.

--Begin video clip --
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY:  I gave a statement to a detective on June 1, and of course they're printed in Dutch and translated into English for me, and I signed it.  Well, that same day the same detective brought me another statement and asked me to sign it because they had to change a date.  And I did.  Well I just found out a week ago, Dan, that it's not my statement.  It had been altered greatly.

So, it's just hard to tell -- what all has happened since the beginning has just been unbelievable.
-- End video clip --

ABRAMS:  What's your response to that?

DOMPIG:  Well, really, it might sound strange, but I have to look into that.  This is the first time I heard this.  So I have to look into it.

But normally, people sign statements, and it has to be translated, they're not sure, or they want to change something.  I don't know what happened in this instance, so I don't feel comfortable giving a response.  But I think that, if anything happened that is not normal, we should look at it.  But that's the only thing I can say right now.  It's the first time I hear about it.

ABRAMS:  And bottom line is, you think that the American people, the people who've come to care about Natalee, should feel confident in the work that your police department has been doing.

DOMPIG:  Absolutely, absolutely.  I told a press person here in Aruba the third day after Natalee went missing that Americans have been coming to Aruba over decades, and they are not just tourists anymore to us.  They have become like family.  So when something like this happens, it becomes personal because these things don't happen every day in Aruba.  Aruba is a very safe island, and so when this happens, this hurts everybody.

As a matter of fact, when I go home every day, the first thing my wife asks me is, Have you guys found her?  So it has become personal and I guarantee you that we would like to have the case solved yesterday.

Watch the 'Abrams Report' for more analysis and interviews on the top legal stories each weeknight at 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV.

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