Joran van der Sloot, Natalee Holloway disappearance suspect, faces extradition to U.S.
The man suspected in the 2005 disappearance of the Ala. teen in Aruba is currently serving a 28-year prison sentence in Peru for a 2010 murder
By Jessica Schladebeck
New York Daily News
Joran van der Sloot, likely the last person to see Natalee Holloway alive and the prime suspect in her disappearance, is set to be extradited to the United States nearly 20 years after the American teen vanished in Aruba.
Holloway was just 18 in 2005 when she vanished during a graduation trip to the island nation with her Alabama high school. She was last seen leaving a bar with van der Sloot, who is currently serving a 28-year prison sentence in Peru for the 2010 murder of Stephany Flores. A wealthy business student from a prominent family, Flores was killed five years to the day after Holloway’s disappeared.
While he’s long been the primary suspect in Holloway’s disappearance, van der Sloot has never been charged due to lack of evidence.
van der Sloot’s impending extradition to the United States marks the latest twist in a true crime story that has left both internet sleuths and authorities baffled for decades. It has also inspired a slew of movies, documentaries and television shows, including Hulu’s new “Saint X,” which is very loosely based on Holloway’s story.
The new case is rooted in van der Sloot’s alleged attempt to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Holloway family. Prosecutors in the U.S. said van der Sloot accepted cash from her family in exchange for a promise to lead them to her body in early 2010.
According to an FBI arrest affidavit, van der Sloot reached out to Beth Holloway, Natalee’s mother, claiming to know the whereabouts of her remains. He requested they pay $25,000 up front and then another $250,000 once they uncovered the body. During a recorded sting operation, van der Sloot pointed to a house where he said Holloway was buried but in later emails admitted to lying about the location.
An Alabama grand jury indicted van der Sloot on wire fraud and extortion charges in 2010.
In a statement on Wednesday, Peru’s Minister of Justice Daniel Maurate said the government decided to “accept the request” from U.S. authorities “for the temporary transfer” of van der Sloot to be prosecuted on the charges.
“We will continue to collaborate on legal issues with allies such as the United States, and many others with which we have extradition treaties,” said Edgar Alfredo Rebaza, director of Peru’s Office of International Judicial Cooperation and Extraditions of the National Prosecutor’s Office.
Beth Holloway, in response to the news, reflected on the difficult years she and her family have faced since her daughter’s disappearance.
“She would be 36 years old now,” she said. “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.”