So Hooty Hoo Holloway came to Birmingham, and there was no beating around the bush with that girl. Once I asked her to get me a soft drink, and she looked at me like I'd asked her to run a mile. Beth was a speech pathologist and worked with children, and that sensitivity rubbed off.My mom employed autistic adults at Harvest Glen, and Natalee was their favorite coworker.They watched as van der Sloot, the main suspect in the crime, was twice detained by police in connection with the investigation—and twice released without ever being charged.Then, this past May 30—on precisely the fifth anniversary of Natalee's disappearance—Peruvian business student Stephany Flores, 21, was murdered in a Lima hotel room, and van der Sloot confessed to the killing.
The reappearance of van der Sloot brought up haunting memories for two of Natalee's best friends, Mallie Tucker, 24, and Claire Fierman, 23.
Her disappearance left her best friends from Birmingham's Mountain Brook High confused, angry and bereft.
From the first day she went missing, her classmates lived through the frustrations of an inconclusive police investigation and the indignities of a media firestorm that made Natalee Holloway a household name.
They decided to tell their story exclusively to , a story that none of Natalee's circle has told before: about who Natalee really was; what they think of van der Sloot; and how the unresolved loss of their best friend traumatized them for years.
I met with them in Mountain Brook, Alabama, the Birmingham suburb where they all grew close and where Mallie's and Claire's families still live. "MALLIE: She helped me with AP environmental science.