In early 2008, a person who identified himself as Marcos sent Dave a message, claiming he knew that drug runners had been paid to get rid of Natalee’s body at sea but instead took the remains with them to Nicaragua and hid them on land. Private investigator Tim Miller, as he relayed on Dateline, went to Nicaragua and met with Marcos, who offered to go to the hiding place with a GPS tracker and look for the remains.
Instead, Marco disappeared.
When Dave was contacted in 2016 by a man named Gabriel, who said he had information about Natalee’s remains, Dave asked T.J. to vet the tip—as he’d done with so many other alleged sightings, snippets of information and ultimately dead-end leads they’d received over the years.
“So we thought, well, maybe we’ve got something here, because I’ve had so, so many false leads, people who’ve just wanted to take you for a ride,” recalled Dave, who had also gone to Aruba in 2015 with T.J. to meet with yet another person who falsely claimed to have information about Natalee’s fate. “I thought, OK, this may be a new lead… Let’s go on and see if we can develop it. That turned into a situation a little bit bigger than what I’d anticipated.”
It led to the enlistment of a production company which, most importantly, would be able to provide resources for the considerable expense involved in returning to Aruba and conducting yet another search.