CNN is reporting that Dutch citizen Joran van der Sloot, 22, has admitted to attempted extortion of the Holloway family. Natalee Holloway of Mountain Brook, Alabama, disappeared from Aruba during a graduation trip on May 30, 2005. Van der Sloot allegedly attempted to extort over $250,000 for information that would lead the Holloway family to Natalee’s body. Though currently in a Peruvian prison, he faces a count of extortion and wire fraud in the U.S. over the allegations. Though arrested twice in Aruba in connection to Natalee’s disappearance, he was never charged, as prosecutors claim they lack enough evidence for a conviction.
“I wanted to get back at Natalee’s family. Her parents have been making my life tough for five years,” van der Sloot allegedly said in prison, according to CNN. “When they offered to pay for the girl’s location, I thought: ‘Why not?'”
The alleged suspect has claimed to know what happened to Natalee in the past, as reported by ABC News. On a secretly recorded tape, he told a friend that he’d had another friend dump her body in the ocean.
Van der Sloot is accused of killing Stephany Tatiana Flores Ramírez, 21, in a Lima, Peru, hotel room and is awaiting trial there. According to CBS News, he has confessed to the killing. He’d met Flores in a hotel casino and was filmed on surveillance camera entering his hotel room with her. He left alone. Van der Sloot was apprehended after entering Chile, with a cell phone with no SIM card. There is neither a death penalty nor a life sentence for murder possible in Peru, but van der Sloot does face a maximum of 35 years for the charges. The President of Peru, Alan Garcia, has called for the reinstatement of the death penalty in reaction to the Flores case, according to CBS News.
Van der Sloot’s lawyer, Maximo Alteza, claims his client’s statements regarding extortion are a misunderstanding. “Maybe there were some mistakes in the translation,” Alteza is reported to have said by CNN.
While anything is possible while a trial is still pending, the accusations against van der Sloot are stacking up, which would make it very difficult for him to escape prison in some form or another. Should he be found innocent in Peru, he will still face extradition for the charges in the U.S. In any country he should choose to travel to afterward, he’d be pursued for extradition, making his life a bit more difficult.
Caroline Black, “Van der Sloot Jailhouse Photoshoot Causes Stir, Say Reports” CBS News
CNN Wire Staff, “Dutch paper: Van der Sloot admits extortion” CNN
Naimah Jabali-Nash, “Van der Sloot Cops Say He Ditched Cell Phone’s SIM Card on the Run” CBS News
CBS 42, “Reaction to possible van der Sloot death penalty”
Michael S. James, Chris Cuomo, and Jessica Velmans, “Holloway Suspect: ‘I Know What Happened'” ABC News