By now, we are familiar with the nightmare that has unfolded for Beth Twitty, the mother of Natalee Holloway, Holloway disappeared in Aruba five years ago, and is presumed dead. It is widely believed that Joran van der Sloot, a Dutch national who was last seen with Holloway, was either responsible for her disappearance, or is withholding information about it. Now five years later, he is being charged with murder in the death of another yuong woman, Stepphany Flores, in Peru.
For Twitty, there has been no rest, no closure, and no answers, for five long years.
But she’s not the only mother who has been haunted by all this. Anita van der Sloot, Joran’s mother has also spent the last five years living under the shadow of the Holloway disappearance. And now, faces the news that her son is involved in another woman’s death.
The question is: do we care?
We tend to focus all our sympathy on the victim’s mother in situations like this, and with good reason: this is our collective nightmare, right? Not just that our children are going to get hurt, or God forbid, be murdered, but that they are going to be snatched away from us—while our heads are turned at the playground, or while they are playing in the yard, or as they get older, while they are sipping a cocktail in some dark and violent corner of the world, and we are going to spend the rest of our days not knowing what became of them.
It’s terrible, and Twitty and mothers like her deserve our sympathy.
But what about Anita van der Sloot? She is also experiencing a unique type of horror. Who among us ever dreams up that our child could turn into a monster? Even if the charges against van der Sloot in the disappearance of Holloway and Flores’ death are unfounded (which they don’t appear to be) his behavior over the last five years has been reprehensible. He has danced around with the authorities, changing his story, confessing and retracting details, avoiding the truth. Now comes news that he tried to extort $250,000 from someone close to Beth Twitty in exchange for information about Holloway’s disappearance. It’s sick. So while many of us wonder how Beth Twitty gets up every morning and faces her day, I am also wondering: how does Anita van der Sloot? She has expressed “shock” at his recent arrest. Is she to blame for her son’s behavior? Or is she, if not an equal victim, a victim just the same?
What do you think?