Convicted killer faces extradition over unsolved disappearance of teenager

US News

Peru will allow the extradition to the US of the main suspect in the unsolved disappearance of student Natalee Holloway on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba in 2005.

Joran van der Sloot, a Dutch citizen, is charged with extortion and wire fraud concerning payments made to him by the Holloway family after their daughter’s disappearance.

Ms Holloway, who lived in Birmingham, Alabama, was 18 when she vanished while on a trip with classmates to Aruba.

She was last seen leaving a bar with van der Sloot, who was then 18 years old.

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He was detained and identified as a suspect weeks later, along with two Surinamese brothers.

Her disappearance sparked years of news coverage and true-crime podcasts.

Ms Holloway’s body was never found and no charges were filed in the case.

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Years later, van der Sloot was arrested in Peru for the 2010 murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, who was killed five years to the day after Holloway’s disappearance.

He pleaded guilty in 2012 and is serving 28 years in prison for the murder.

Prosecutors accused van der Sloot of killing Ms Flores, a business student from a prominent family, to rob her after learning she had won money at the casino where the two met.

They said he killed her with “ferocity” and “cruelty”, beating then strangling her in his hotel room.

But his extradition to the US stems from an alleged attempt to profit from his connection to the Holloway case.

Beth Holloway, mother of Natalee Holloway, speaks during the opening of the Natalee Holloway Resource Center (NHRC) at the National Museum of Crime & Punishment in Washington, Tuesday, June 8, 2010. Holloway's daughter disappeared in Aruba in 2005, and today launched a resource center named for Natalee to assist the families of missing persons. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Beth Holloway, mother of Natalee Holloway, speaking in 2010. Pic: AP

US prosecutors say van der Sloot accepted $25,000 (£19,800) in cash from Ms Holloway’s family in exchange for a promise to lead them to her body in early 2010, just before he went to Peru.

In written evidence, an FBI agent said van der Sloot reached out to Ms Holloway’s mother and wanted to be paid to disclose the location and then receive another $225,000 (£179,000) when the remains were recovered.

During a recorded sting operation, van der Sloot pointed to a house where he said Ms Holloway was buried but in later emails admitted to lying about the location, the agent said.

The young woman’s mother, Beth Holloway, said she was blessed to have Natalee in her life for 18 years.

“She would be 36 years old now. It has been a very long and painful journey, but the persistence of many is going to pay off. Together, we are finally getting justice for Natalee,” she said.

Attorney Maximo Altez, who represents van der Sloot, said he would fight the decision once he is properly notified by the Peruvian government.

Van der Sloot married a Peruvian woman in July 2014 in a ceremony at a maximum-security prison.

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