Main suspect in Natalee Holloway case leaves Peru to face U.S. charges

FAN Editor

The prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of American Natalee Holloway, Joran van der Sloot, was on his way Thursday to the United States to face charges of extortion and wire fraud related to promises he allegedly made to Holloway’s family about leading authorities to her body. Van der Sloot was transferred to U.S. law enforcement custody in Lima, Peru, Thursday morning and a plane departed at 9 a.m. Eastern carrying him to the U.S.

It was unclear when or where he might first appear in a U.S. court.

Holloway was 18 when she went missing during a high school senior trip to the Caribbean island nation of Aruba, where Van der Sloot, a Dutch national, lived. She was last seen leaving a bar with him. No one has ever been charged in her disappearance, and her body has never been found. In 2012, an Alabama judge declared her deceased.

Dutch national Joran Van der Sloot is transferred in a police car from the Ancon I jail in Lima, Peru, to be handed over temporarily to U.S. custody, June 8, 2023. ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP/Getty

Van der Sloot was indicted in the U.S. on extortion and wire fraud charges in 2010 in connection with an offer he allegedly made to sell information about the whereabouts of Holloway’s remains to her mother, Beth, for $250,000. Beth Holloway paid Van der Sloot some of that money directly, and made another payment through a lawyer, but the information turned out to be false, the indictment alleges.

Van der Sloot has been serving a 28-year prison sentence in Peru for the 2010 murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, whom he confessed to killing in his hotel room in Lima.

Under the terms of a 2001 treaty between the U.S. and Peru, temporarily extradition is allowed so a suspect can face trial in the other country, and Van der Sloot will remain in the U.S. until the end of the American criminal proceedings, including any potential appeal, The Associated Press reported. He is then expected to be returned to Peru to complete his sentence.

Peru’s Ambassador to the U.S., Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, said he hoped Van der Sloot’s temporary extradition would, “enable a process that will help to bring peace to Mrs. Holloway and to her family, who are grieving in the same way that the Flores family in Peru is grieving for the loss of their daughter, Stephany.”

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