Prime suspect admits to 2005 murder of teen Natalee Holloway, pleads guilty to extorting her mother
The almost 20 year search for answers in the Alabama teen’s murder case is finally over
Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in Natalee Holloway’s 2005 disappearance, admitted to killing her and extorting her mother for money, per The Associated Press.
Van der Sloot, 36, appeared in federal court on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to extorting Beth Holloway, Natalee’s mother, and wire fraud. He had attempted to get $250,000 from her mother in exchange for details regarding Natalee’s death and whereabouts.
Beth Holloway revealed the Dutch national confessed to killing Natalee in Aruba as part of his plea deal. When his sexual advances were returned by a knee to his crotch from 18-year old Natalee, “he responded by kicking her in the face and bludgeoning her with the cinder block,” CNN reports.
He then disposed of her body in the ocean.
U.S. Judge Anna Manasco handed down a 20 year sentence, based upon his confession of Natalee’s murder and for his subsequent murder of another woman, Stephany Flores in Peru in 2010.
“You have brutally murdered — in separate instances years apart — two young women who refused your sexual advances,” Manasco said, per AP.
According to CNN, van der Sloot is serving a 28-year sentence in Peru for murdering Flores but was extradited to the U.S. in June due to the wire fraud and extortion charges. He will return to Peru for the remainder of his sentence and then serve 20 years in prison in the U.S.
How did Joran van der Sloot extort Beth Holloway?
The Messenger reported that van der Sloot emailed the Holloway family’s lawyer, John Kelly, in March 2010. He wrote, “I will take you to Natalee, but I do not want it to be known the information came from me... In return I want $250,000.”
In an April email, van der Sloot said he would settle for $25,000 upon Kelly’s arrival and the remaining $225,000 to be wired to him.
“I want this monkey off my back just as much as I know Natalees (sic) parents want to bring her home,” van der Sloot wrote to Kelly.
Kelly complied with the demands outlined in the emails, but his May 6 trip to Aruba didn’t reveal the location of Natalee’s body, rather, it became evident that van der Sloot was lying.
The next month, he was indicted on charges of wire fraud and extortion. The indictment read, “the information, as the defendant (van der Sloot) then knew, was false.”
What happened to Natalee Holloway in 2005?
Natalee Holloway went missing in Aruba while on a high school graduation trip on May 30, 2005. She was last seen leaving a nightclub with three men, one of them being 17-year-old Joran van der Sloot and brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe.
They were arrested just over a week later, along with van der Sloot’s father, but they, except for Joran, were released soon after due to a lack of evidence.
In August, authorities brought the Kalpoes back into custody and leveled charges based on new evidence regarding their “involvement in the voluntary manslaughter of Natalee Holloway or causing serious bodily harm to Natalee Holloway, resulting in her death,” CNN reported.
The next month all three suspects were released, only to be rearrested and recharged in 2007. Again, the evidence proved insufficient and charges were dropped.
In 2012, a judge declared Natalee legally dead. Her mother disagreed with the decision and told reporters that she still hoped her daughter would be found alive. Her father, though, had expressed a need for closure, having been told by the FBI that Natalee could be dead merely 10 days after her disappearance, CNN reported.
Will van der Sloot serve time for Natalee’s murder?
For the Holloway family, seeing van der Sloot in court was another form of closure for them. They have the truth they’ve spent almost 20 years searching for.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s over. Joran van der Sloot is no longer the suspect in my daughter’s murder. He is the killer,” Beth Holloway said to reporters afterwards, per AP.
In court, she read a victim impact statement.
It reads, in part:
“Joran, for eighteen years you have denied killing my daughter Natalee. Your lies and manipulation, taunting us with fake news interviews and wild stories of what happened to her, have caused indescribable pain and harm to my family and me. The grief I feel lives way down deep in my soul. Now in the course of being. sentenced for attempting to sell me her bodily remains, you have finally admitted that you, in fact, murdered her...
“Joran, while you’re living your lie in prison until you’re an old man, ll live the rest of my life with wonderful memories of a beautiful young lady who had her whole life in front of her. Natalee will be 18 forever in my heart. She was smart, and so accomplished, and | have no doubt she would have made all her dreams come true. She had real hope. The hope that filled her heart fills mine, and | will wake up every day remembering who she was.”