By Jonathan Mason-June 9th, 2023.
Natalee Holloway, a US tourist, disappeared in Aruba in 2005. The main suspect in her 2005 disappearance has now been extradited to the US to stand trial for alleged extortion.
Dutchman Joran van der Sloot, 35, is accused of taking tens of thousands of dollars from Natalee Holloway’s mother in exchange for revealing the location of their daughter’s body, which has never been found. At the time van der Sloot was the son of the local judge in Aruba.
Prosecutors say he gave her false information about the location of the body of her daughter and fled to Peru. In Peru, he subsequently murdered a young Peruvian woman and was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
Footage released by Peruvian police on Thursday showed van der Sloot being transferred from the jail where he has served half of his murder sentence to an air force base in the capital, Lima.
There, he was handed over to FBI agents, who flew with him on a US Department of Justice plane to Birmingham, Alabama. Van der Sloot arrived in the US around 14:30 local time (19:30 GMT).
The disappearance of Natalee Holloway during a school trip to the Caribbean island of Aruba was widely covered in US and international media.
The 18-year-old was last seen leaving a nightclub and getting into a car with Dutch national Joran van der Sloot, who was 17 at the time, and two young brothers from Suriname, Deepak and Saltish Kalpoe.
Van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers were arrested shortly after Natalee Holloway’s disappearance, but were released again because of a lack of evidence.
Prosecutors allege that in 2010, van der Sloot said he would reveal the location of Natalee Holloway’s body if her mother paid him $25,000 (£20,000) up front and another $225,000 once the remains were identified.
Nothing was found at the location he had given.
Five years to the day after Natalee Holloway’s disappearance, Joran van der Sloot took a 21-year-old Peruvian student, Stephany Flores, back to his hotel room after meeting her at a casino in Lima.
Ms Flores was found dead in the room the next morning.
Police tracked van der Sloot down to neighbouring Chile, where he had fled.
He was then extradited to Peru, where he told police that he killed Stephany Flores when she had become aware of his connection to the Natalee Holloway disappearance.
In 2010, Van der Sloot was sentenced to 28 years for Flores’s murder, but Peruvian authorities agreed to extradite him to the US “temporarily” so he can face extortion and wire fraud charges there.
The head of Interpol in the Peruvian capital said that “this transfer will be temporary while the process in the United States lasts. Later, the Dutch citizen will be returned to Peru, so that he can continue to serve his sentence in the Challapalca prison”.
While Natalee Holloway’s body is still missing, a judge in Alabama declared her legally dead in 2012.