Is Alison Thomas Based on a Real Murder Victim? What Happened to Her?

Hulu’s ‘Saint X’ follows the story of Claire Thomas, who has a chance encounter with the man who was briefly suspected of murdering her sister, Alison. As the story moves back and forth in time, we find the Thomas family arriving on the eponymous island to spend a week relaxing and having fun. On the last day of their trip, Alison goes missing, and her dead body is found a few days later. The local police rule it an accident, but the Thomas family is convinced that the murderers are being protected to save the island’s reputation.

Twenty years later, the mystery surrounding Alison’s death reverberates in Claire’s life as she embarks on a treacherous path to find the truth. With so many true-crime stories on TV right now, you might wonder if there is some truth to Alison’s story. Is she based on a real person? Let’s find out.

Alison Thomas: A Fictional Character

No, Alison Thomas is not based on a real person. She is an original character created by Alexis Schaitkin for her novel ‘Saint X,’ on which the TV show is based. The author revealed that the premise of a dead girl on an island developed from two short stories she’d written. “I had written a short story about a young woman who goes missing while traveling alone in Thailand. And I had written a story set at this fictional tropical resort, Indigo Bay. Saint X brought those stories together,” she said.

Schaitkin wanted to explore how the media presents the narrative of a murder victim, especially if it’s a young white girl. When Alison’s murder becomes a media sensation, everyone following the story believes they know Alison. However, she was a different person for the people around her. Apart from highlighting this, Schaitkin also used Alison as the bridge to the two worlds that the story focuses on. She is a tourist, but her connection to the locals allows us to see both worlds and explore the events from different perspectives.

Despite her being a fictional character, Alison Thomas bears a close resemblance to the case of Natalee Holloway. Schaitkin revealed that while she was aware of Holloway’s case, she didn’t want Aluson’s story to be a fictionalization of the real events. “I made a conscious decision as I was writing Saint X not to research it. The one article I did read was an interview with some of Natalee’s friends about how her death continued to impact their lives years later. That’s certainly a theme with which Saint X is deeply engaged,” she said. While there might be some similarities between the cases, it is clear that Alison Thomas is not based on Natalee Holloway.

Holloway Remains Missing, Declared Dead in 2012

Image Credit: FBI

18-year-old Natalee Holloway disappeared on May 30, 2005, in Aruba, where she was on a senior class trip with her classmates and chaperones. They arrived on the island on May 26, 2005. According to the FBI, Holloway, and other students went to the nightclub Carlos ‘N Charlie’s Nightclub in Oranjestad on the evening of May 29, 2005. The club closed around 1 in the morning, following which the students scattered. Some returned to where they were staying, while others, divided into groups, flocked to different bars.

Reportedly, Natalee Holloway was last seen around 1:30 am in a silver Honda with Joran van der Sloot, Deepak Kalpoe, and Satish Kalpoe. She was reported missing the following day when the group met in the lobby to prepare for their departure. She hadn’t returned to the hotel the previous night as all of her stuff was still in her room.

The three men were brought in for questioning. They claimed to have dipped her off at the hotel but didn’t know if she went somewhere else after that or went back to her room. The cops circled back to them, with Van der Sloot getting arrested twice and the Kalpoes getting arrested three times during the investigation. However, there was no concrete evidence to prove their guilt, so they were never charged. Over the years, several theories emerged about what might have happened to Holloway, but the mystery remains. She was never found, and on January 12, 2012, she was declared dead at her father’s request.

Read More: Saint X: Is Emily, AKA Clare, Thomas Based on a Real Person?