Natalee Holloway Case Gets Major Update After Gov't Makes Decision on Fate of Top Suspect
The case of 18-year-old Natalee Holloway drew worldwide attention when she vanished in 2005 during a high school graduation trip to the Caribbean island of Aruba.
Now, the man she was seen leaving a bar with on the night of her disappearance is going to be extradited from Peru to the U.S. to stand trial — not for Holloway’s murder, but on charges of extorting money from her family, according to CNN.
Joran van der Sloot, now 36, is serving a 28-year prison sentence for the 2012 murder of another young woman, 21-year-old Stephany Flores.
But Peruvian authorities agreed this week to allow his extradition to the U.S. to face charges in connection to a 2010 deal he made to reveal the location of Holloway’s remains for $250,000, CNN reported.
“The missing 18-year-old’s mother, Beth Holloway, wired $15,000 to a bank account van der Sloot held in the Netherlands and through an attorney gave him another $10,000 in person,” according to the report, which cited a federal indictment.
The remainder of the $250,000 was to be paid upon positive identification of the girl’s remains, Fox News reported.
After receiving the initial $25,000, the indictment alleges, van der Sloot accompanied Beth Holloway’s attorney, John Kelly, to a site where he said the remains were buried.
However, “this information, as the defendant then knew, was false,” according to the indictment, and no remains were found.
The indictment seeks van der Sloot’s forfeiture of $25,100, according to CNN.
USA Today, among many other major media outlets, referred to van der Sloot as the “prime suspect” in Natalee Holloway’s disappearance and called the extradition “a potential step towards justice in the high-interest case that has gone unsolved for years.”
Early in the investigation, van der Sloot was arrested, but he was never charged in the case.
Natalee Holloway was declared legally deceased in 2012, according to CNN. Her remains have never been found.
Beth Holloway blamed van der Sloot for her daughter’s death in a Wednesday statement.
“It has been a very long and painful journey, but the persistence of many is going to pay off,” she said. “Together, we are finally getting justice for Natalee.”
Van der Sloot’s attorney told The Associated Press that he has not yet been formally notified of the extradition plan, but he intends to fight it.
“I am going to challenge that resolution,” Maximo Altez said. “I am going to oppose it since he has the right to a defense.”
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