In a bombshell twist to a disturbing case, Peru’s Supreme Court has authorised the extradition of a Dutch national who is currently serving a 28-year sentence for murder, to the United States to face charges of extortion and wire fraud.
Joran van der Sloot is in a Peru prison for the murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, after prosecutors accused him of beating and strangling her in a hotel room after they met at a casino on May 30, 2010.
However, the Dutchman is also the prime suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, an American teenager who went missing in Aruba in 2005.
The US Justice Department has charged van der Sloot with trying to extort $250,000 from Holloway‘s family in exchange for information about her whereabouts.
He allegedly received $10,000 from the family but never provided any information about Ms Holloway’s body.
Van der Sloot is expected to be extradited to the U.S. in the coming weeks. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of extortion and wire fraud.
The extradition of van der Sloot is a major development in the case of Natalee Holloway. Her family has been searching for her for 18 years, and they have long believed that van der Sloot knows what happened to her.
The extradition of van der Sloot is a step towards justice for Natalee Holloway and her family.
Her mother Beth Holloway commented on the development on Wednesday, expressing hope that van der Sloot would see justice despite the many years that have passed since his alleged crime.
“In May 2005 my 18-year-old daughter Natalee Holloway left Birmingham for Aruba to attend her high school graduation trip and was never seen again,” she said in a statement.
“I was blessed to have had Natalee in my life for 18 years, and as of this month, I have been without her for exactly 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.”
Van der Sloot has given several interviews over the years, and even released a book in 2007 attempting to clear his name.
However, his stories about what happened to Ms Holloway have changed over time.
In 2008, van der Sloot claimed that he had sold Ms Holloway into a sexual slavery ring. However, he later recanted this story, saying that he had made it up in order to get attention.
A year later, van der Sloot claimed that he had disposed of Ms Holloway‘s body in a swamp. However, authorities discounted this confession as well, saying that there was no evidence to support it.
Van der Sloot’s changing stories have only served to raise more questions about what happened to Ms Holloway. Her family continues to search for answers, and they hope that one day van der Sloot will finally tell the truth about what happened to their daughter.
In 2016, he was captured on an undercover video admitting that he lied to the police about Ms Holloway’s death.
“I always lied to the police. I never told the truth. Also, when I was younger, I never told everything. The police just never knew what they had to ask me,” van der Sloot said.
When asked if he’s talking about the Holloway case, van der Sloot replied, “Yes, this is also where I am guilty and I accept everything that I have done.”
He added: “I think that was one of the worst police investigations that ever took place.”
Ms Holloway’s father, Dave Holloway said that van der Sloot is just trying to get out of a tough Peruvian prison by promising to tell details about Natalee’s death.
“I do know the Peruvian prison system he’s in now is pretty harsh and obviously he’s trying to get to Aruba or somewhere else,” Mr Holloway said at the time.
“He could sit down there and rot in the prison system he’s in now.”