The Search for Natalee: Cancun

The Search for Natalee: Cancun
"We got a good lead today," says an enthusiastic Jamie Skeeters in Cancun, Mexico.
"When we picked up our car, we asked the manager about sex slave trafficking, and right away he said Mexico City. We made contact with a cab driver who's acting as a pimp, who said he can get us young girls, 15 to 18, blonde."

A hidden camera records Ty as he puts out a feeler.

"Hello, hello!" he says, mimicking the playful tone of someone looking to party. "We want a Norwegian, Swedish, European ... American would be perfect. You bring me an 18-year-old blonde; I'll give you $200."

The driver replies, "Blackjack, my friend. That's where you want to go?"

Jamie says the driver showed them a brochure for the legal gentleman's club in Cancun. "He showed us some pictures, probably two dozen pictures, of nude women," he says, sifting through the photos. "We're looking for Natalee Holloway and any other American girl that might have been kidnapped as a sex slave."

Ty and Jamie take a hidden camera into a local brothel. They are greeted in the entryway by a man who speaks to them in Spanish, and then a woman who speaks in thickly accented English.

"OK, you want to see the girls?" she asks.

"We're looking for some white girls," Jamie tells her.

"OK, come on," she says, as the gentlemen follow her to another room.

"The girls will come here, downstairs, one by one. And then you decide which person you like and then I'm coming back, and explain the services, prices and everything, OK?" she says.

As promised, girls arrive, one by one, to greet the gentlemen.  "Hola, como esta?" they ask.

"They're all Latins," Jamie says.

"Those are the girls we have for you right now," says their host.

"Oh, right now?" Jamie asks. "Do you have any American girls at all? Scandinavian?"

"Ever?" adds Ty.

"Not right now," she replies.

The men thank her in Spanish and leave.

The next morning, Hurricane Wilma hits.


"Well as you can see from out here, we're in a 175-mile-an-hour category 4 hurricane right now. The wind has been blowing like a sun of a gun all night. OK, we're right in the middle of the eye. The streets are flooded." But despite the weather, Jamie and Ty persevere. "We're getting ready to go over to a gentleman's club for prostitutes. It's our last spot to check for Natalee. We figure that all the prostitutes will be in the same house because they all live there."

As wind flattens trees and brings down power lines, and rain seeps into the back of their car, Jamie lets out a whoop. "Holy mackerel! Let's get out of here!" he cries.

One day later, the pair is nowhere in sight. Instead, their producer stands alone in their hotel room among shards of glass and rubble.

"The morning after the storm, this is my
only camera that works," he says. "This is the room after the fact here. Big pieces of glass all over the floor. Here's the window. This is about where Jamie was standing when he got hit."

Ty says, "The wind blasted through the window, and knocked Jamie across the room and cut him severely. We got him to the hospital as fast as we could, and he was a mess."

 

The hospital eventually discharges Jamie, but into even more dire circumstances. "It's extremely dangerous here," he explains. "There's no food or water. Bandits are starting to loot. There are no commercial flights. We've got to get out of here. The water is over the rear seat back here. Look at that!" He gestures to a torrent rising within their car.


The pair manage to make their way to an airport, where Dr. Phil has sent a plane to extract them.


As they settle into the plane, the duo is damp but undaunted. "It's been over 15 hours and thanks to Dr. Phil and his staff, we're on a Lear Jet leaving the area. And we're going to find Natalee, if she's alive."

 

Back undercover in Caracas, Venezuela, Jamie and Ty continue their search for a blonde 18-year-old among the city's prostitutes.

Jamie meets with two girls for hire, who introduce themselves as Marianna and Jane.

 

He calls their pimp and says, "Yeah, how old are they and so forth ... Nineteen, both 19 ... Yeah, and they're talking they want, like, $200 for one hour ... We're not interested in these girls." He hangs up and tells the girls, "We're looking for Norwegian. American. English."

"No," one of the girls says.

"Scandinavian. German. We're looking for something else."

"Bye, bye," Jamie says as he walks them out.

 

As innocuous as Jamie's encounter may appear, it brought danger to the doorstep of his partner, Ty.


"I heard a knock at my door, went to the door. I opened it. Crashed through, knocked me down, guy came at me with a knife, screaming, 'There's no white women, no white women here! No white women, no white girls!" And, came at me, just swinging, slashing with the knife." He shows a knife wound on his chest, held together with stitches. "I got in a couple of punches, and he turned, and he ran. It was more like a warning than anything else. No big deal. It should not curtail what we're doing at all."

 

Back in the studio, Dr. Phil says to Ty, "These people were clearly getting agitated that you guys were asking for what you were asking for. What's your thinking about that?"

"I think it's very possible that we were getting close," Ty says. "You know, when they keep those girls who are being held, they keep them back. It's more for special customers, or as time goes on they get to know you. If you come right out of the shoot after that, and put pressure on, pushing for that, it can get nasty.

 

Taking the conversation in a new direction, Dr. Phil goes back to the summer months to explore why Natalee could be alive. He asks Beth about a journalist with Aruba's Diario newspaper who approached her during that time. "And he reported what to you?"


"I guess it was the end of August, and I was sitting at a restaurant, and he came up and he just said that Natalee is alive," she says. "He was disclosing to me all of the different moves that he had been tracking Natalee on. He said that he tracked her on three moves, and he said each time—"

"On the island," Dr. Phil clarifies, "They had moved her around the
island. Now, he's telling you this three, four months after her disappearance?"

"Yes," she confirms. "He said he had been on her case since the beginning. From the first week that Natalee disappeared, that he was the man. And if you go back in the news footage, there was a man, a reporter with Diario, and he was tracking a young girl that they thought was Natalee, and it's in all the media."

Beth continues, "And then I never heard from this individual. I didn't know who he was. I didn't know what reporter was tracking her. But then he surfaced again, like I said, the end of August and said that he had been tracking her since the beginning, and he was saying that they had dyed her hair, and what they were doing was moving her from home to home on the island. Once they were getting close and about to break in to find her, then they were tipped off and that she was moved."

 

Dr. Phil recounts that on one instance the reporter followed the girl who he says was Natalee. He "followed her in a silver car to a house, and as he approached the house, a helicopter flew over him, landed in the lawn, people got in, and off they went."


"Yes, and that's when he really became so ... he just wanted to go under the radar, and not be involved with any authorities or let them know what he was doing. He wouldn't even approach me because he didn't trust that I would keep this confidential. Because he said that every time he felt that he was close to seeing if this young lady was actually Natalee, then the authorities would come in and just ... destroy everything that he was setting up."

"That's interesting information and we've not talked about that until now." Dr. Phil explains that the investigators didn't want to disclose this information previously because the trail was still warm. They have chosen now to reveal it because the reporter is giving specific information and is confident that the girl he saw was Natalee. "He's not asking you for money or anything of the sort, he's just coming and telling you, 'I have seen her alive on the island in June, July, and August,' with three moves that he's specifically talking about."