Archives
PUBLISHED: 4:06 PM on Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Travelers need a safety plan, says 'Natalee Holloway's Mom'
Beth Holloway Twitty is a mother on a mission.

Calling herself simply "Natalee's mom," she offers advice that she believes could save other young people from the fate of her daughter, Natalee Holloway.


Natalee disappeared on May 30, 2005, on the island of Aruba, on the last night of a post-graduation trip from her hometown of Mountain Brook, Ala.

Although a total of 10 men have been arrested and questioned in Aruba since last May, none have been charged, and Twitty does not anticipate her daughter's disappearance being solved soon. The last arrest was announced in April, almost a year after Holloway disappeared.

Twitty is a speech pathologist who has taught handicapped children for 22 years. She taught Sunday school at her Methodist church and lived a quiet life until Natalee's disappearance.

Since then she has made numerous trips to Aruba and she has vowed to never give up searching for Natalee.

Twitty begins by saying Natalee was kidnapped, raped and likely murdered.

"You need to know what happened to her could happen to you," as she directs her comments to students in her audience. "As parents, teach your children about the dangers," she adds with a glance toward the adults.

Students who travel should have a safety plan. "Watch out for yourselves. Have a set place to meet. Don't go with people you don't know. And watch your drinks (to make sure nothing is added)."

Travelers should leave their passports locked in a hotel safe, she advises, and they should have their cell phones activated for international calling. "Understand when you leave the United States, you are the only one who can save yourself."

Twitty is putting information on a Web site called safetravelsfoundation.org. It will provide maps of countries and recommend travelers to study the infrastructure and learn how to seek help in each country to be visited.

Twitty is committed to visit all 50 states.

"I had a goal to at least see 10,000 students before the end of May, and I'm at a little over 6,000 now, so I think I am just going to barely make it. Once I have visited all 50 states, then I'll regroup and see what to do from there." Asked why she took on such a large task, she said it was, "because I was so close to Natalee's friends and have remained so close to them.

"There is a need. I wish Natalee could have heard this message before she went to Aruba. It's hard to bring up a discussion with your young son or daughter, but I think that Natalee has created that forum for a dialogue to be initiated. And if I can help, I will. I think it's at a point in the investigation where I can give something back."

Regarding the vast television coverage given to Natalee's disappearance, she believes the story has continued, "because of all the injustice that has gone on.

"When you have someone - a loved one - who is a victim of a crime in a foreign country, you see how frustrating it is and how your hands are tied. It's just been difficult, and we're so grateful that we have had the support of the media, because if we hadn't, Natalee would have just been a missing person in Aruba without an investigation."

Twitty said the main advice she gives it to investigate your destination and look at the infrastructure.

"See what the points of contact are because no parent wants to get a call from their young son or daughter at 2 in the morning implying they need help. You have just got to know the destination. I have had to learn that the hard way."

She explained she planned her safe-travels foundation after she "realized how frustrating it was to navigate a foreign country and not know the infrastructure. I just wonder if things could have been different. It took us four solid months to really get a handle on the entire infrastructure. That is just too long."

Another thing she learned is to be careful about accepting a ride, even if it is believed to be a cab.

Twitty has been told her programs help future travelers.

"We don't want to discourage these young adults from traveling. We just want them to be more guarded, just in case something should happen."

After hearing Twitty speak, Patty Littleton of Quincy, Ill. and 15-year-old daughter, Daniele, 15, agreed that they will take her advice.

Daniele said "it definitely" will make her be more careful in the future, and she plans to travel "all over Europe" when she is older.

Patty Littleton has been following the Holloway story for the past year.

"It scares you but also makes you more aware," she said. Some of the things mentioned, such as having a "circle of friends," she has already told Daniele and her older sister. "We have always been aware of that."

Her older daughter has already traveled abroad.

However, Littleton said, "she said something that made me think - the idea of a passport (being kept in the hotel). I am thinking of telling our older daughter that. She has traveled with other people internationally.

"I have great respect for Beth, because she is pursuing this, and it is a way of honoring her daughter," she added. "We were very privileged that she came to Quincy."

Sarah Cramsey and Justin Brink of Liberty, Ill., both freshmen at John Wood, also heard Twitty speak. Cramsey said if she goes out of the country, "I'll definitely remember all the stuff that she told us to do, and it is definitely a good idea to have a plan."

Brink said he will remember that young people who travel should, "stick together as a group."


Loading...