A man suspected of being involved in the unsolved 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba is being extradited to the United States to face fraud charges.
Dutch citizen Joran van der Sloot, who is currently serving a 28-year prison sentence in Peru for the 2010 killing of 21-year-old college student Stephany Flores, was indicted in 2010 by an Alabama federal grand jury on wire fraud and extortion charges, accusing him of trying to extort the Holloway family for $250,000 for information about her disappearance.
Van der Sloot indicated that “he would not tell where the remains of her daughter were hidden, nor provide any information regarding the circumstances of her death” unless the family paid the money, an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit. “For an initial payment of $25,000, he would take [a representative of the family] to the location of Natalee’s body. Upon recovery of the body and confirmation that it was, in fact, the remains of Natalee Holloway, van der Sloot would be paid an additional $225,000 by” the family.
According to the FBI agent, van der Sloot later received the $25,000 and admitted in later emails with the family’s representative that “he had lied about the location of Natalee Holloway’s remains.”
Peru agreed to hand over van der Sloot for temporary extradition after initially telling the U.S. that it would have to wait until he finished his prison sentence in 2038 before he could be extradited.
Peru’s ambassador to the U.S., Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, said in a statement, “We hope that this action will 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.”
Beth Holloway, the mother of Natalee Holloway, weighed in on the development in a statement released on Wednesday.
“In May 2005 my 18-year-old daughter Natalee Holloway left Birmingham for Aruba to attend her high school graduation trip and was never seen again,” she wrote. “She was abducted and murdered there. Now almost exactly eighteen years later, her perpetrator, Joran van der Sloot, has been extradited to Birmingham to answer for his crimes.”
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“While I will have much more to say later about what is happening, for now I want to express my sincere gratitude to President Dina Boluarte, the President of Peru, the warm people of Peru, the family of Stephany Flores, the FBI in Miami, Florida and in Birmingham, Alabama, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Birmingham, the U.S. Embassy in Peru and the Peruvian Embassy in the U.S., my longtime attorney John Q. Kelly who has worked tirelessly on this case, and George Seymore and Marc Wachtenheim of Patriot Strategies,” she continued.
“I was blessed to have had Natalee in my life for 18 years, and as of this month, I have been without her for exactly 18 years,” she concluded. “She would be 36 years old now. It has been a very long and painful journey, but the persistence of many is going to pay off. Together, we are finally getting justice for Natalee.”