In a Birmingham federal courtroom, Joran van der Sloot, long suspected in Natalee Holloway’s 2005 disappearance, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and extortion. He’s agreed to disclose vital information about her death, and the location of her remains, marking a significant development in the case.
Natalee Holloway vanished during a high school graduation trip to Aruba, and van der Sloot was the last person seen with the 18-year-old. Despite early suspicions, Aruban authorities were unable to build a case against him.
In a twist of fate, federal prosecutors in Alabama charged van der Sloot with extortion and wire fraud in 2010 while he was already incarcerated in Peru for the murder of a college student, Stephany Flores, in his Lima hotel room.
The U.S. government’s indictment accused van der Sloot of attempting to extort $250,000 from Natalee’s mother, Beth Holloway, in exchange for information regarding her daughter’s death.
U.S. Attorney Prim Escalona stated, “Today, the United States held Joran van der Sloot accountable for his scheme to exploit a mother looking for information about her missing daughter.”
Beth Holloway expressed mixed emotions about the guilty plea, declaring, “I can tell you with certainty that after 18 years, Natalee’s case is solved as far as I’m concerned. It’s over, it’s over. Joran van der Sloot is no longer the suspect in my daughter’s murder. He is the killer.”
During the court proceedings, Holloway provided a glimpse into the grim details of the fateful night, alleging that van der Sloot bludgeoned her daughter after she rejected his advances and disposed of her body in the ocean. She addressed van der Sloot directly, saying, “You are a killer, and I want you to remember that every time you hear that cell door close.”
A judge subsequently sentenced van der Sloot to 20 years in a U.S. federal prison. He will first return to Peru to complete his sentence for the murder of Stephany Flores. If he serves more than 20 years in Peru, he will not be required to return to the U.S. to complete his sentence for extortion and wire fraud.