18 years after the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, Peru wants to extradite the main suspect to the US – Twin Cities


LIMA, Peru (AP) – The prime suspect in the 2005 mysterious disappearance of American college student Natalee Holloway is facing charges related to the disappearance of the young woman for the first time after the Peruvian government approved his extradition to the United States.

Neither US nor Peruvian authorities would say Thursday when they could transfer custody of Dutch citizen Joran van der Sloot. A day earlier, the Peruvian embassy in Washington announced the decision to extradite him and stand trial for racketeering and wire fraud, both of which carry lengthy sentences.

Van der Sloot is in a maximum security prison in the Andes, serving a 28-year sentence for the murder of a Peruvian woman.

Holloway, who lived in suburban Birmingham, Alabama, was 18 when she was last seen during a trip to the Caribbean island of Aruba with classmates. She disappeared after a night out with friends at a nightclub, leaving behind a secret that sparked years of news coverage and countless true crime podcasts. She was last seen leaving a bar with van der Sloot, who was a student at an international school on the island.

Van der Sloot was identified as a suspect and arrested weeks later along with two Surinamese brothers. Holloway’s body was never found and no charges were brought in the case. A judge later pronounced Holloway dead.

The federal lawsuit filed in Alabama against van der Sloot alleges that he tried to blackmail the Holloway family in 2010 by promising to lead them to her body in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars. A grand jury that year indicted him for wire fraud and racketeering, each of which carries up to 20 years in prison.

Also in 2010, van der Sloot was arrested in Peru for the murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, five years to the day after Holloway’s disappearance.

Peruvian prosecutors accused van der Sloot of killing Flores, an economics student from a prominent family, in order to rob her after learning she had won money at the casino where the two met. They said he killed her with “cruelty” and “cruelty,” beat her in his hotel room, and then strangled her. He pleaded guilty in 2012.

A 2001 treaty between Peru and the United States allows a suspect to be temporarily extradited to stand trial in the other country. It requires that the prisoner be “transferred” after the trial “against that person, under conditions to be determined by both countries”.

The US Department of Justice declined to comment on the extradition from Peru on Thursday. A resolution published in the South American country’s federal register said that on January 10, US diplomats presented the request for temporary extradition to the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The time van der Sloot ultimately spends in the US “will be extended pending the completion of criminal proceedings,” including the appeals process, if there is one, the published resolution said. The resolution also states that US authorities have agreed to subsequently return the suspect to Peru’s custody.

The extradition request noted that “an additional delay in prosecuting the case being prosecuted in the United States of America could significantly reduce the possibility of a conviction since the age and health of the key witnesses in the case would be determinants of prosecution.” would be extremely difficult if it were not implemented soon,” according to a decision by Peru’s top court in March.

In a statement, the young woman’s mother, Beth Holloway, said she was blessed to have Natalee in her life for 18 years.

“She would be 36 years old now. It has been a very long and painful road, but the perseverance of many will pay off. Together we can finally get justice for Natalee,” said Beth Holloway.

An FBI agent wrote in an affidavit that van der Sloot reached out to Holloway’s mother, asking for $25,000 to disclose the location and then another $225,000 to recover the remains. Van der Sloot demanded that he and the mother draft and sign an agreement.

A New York attorney representing Beth Holloway traveled to Aruba with the agreement and handed van der Sloot $10,000 in cash during a recorded meeting, according to court records. The indictment says both men then went to a site where the student’s remains were said to be buried and Beth Holloway made a transfer of $15,000 to van der Sloot’s bank account in the Netherlands.

In the affidavit, the FBI agent wrote that in later emails to the attorney, van der Sloot admitted to lying about the location.

Attorney Maximo Altez, representing van der Sloot, told the Associated Press that he would appeal the extradition decision as soon as he received notice from the Peruvian government.

“I will appeal this decision,” Altez said. “I will oppose it as he has the right to a defense.”

Van der Sloot could not be immediately reached for comment. More than a decade ago, he told a Peruvian judge that he would oppose attempts to extradite him to the United States

The Alabama governor hailed the extradition decision and commended Beth Holloway’s perseverance.

“The extradition of Joran van der Sloot to Birmingham, Alabama — Natalee’s home for her 18 years — is significant,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement. “Criminals like him are deceitful and vicious. Alabama moms like Beth Holloway are stronger.”

Van der Sloot married a Peruvian woman in a ceremony in a maximum security prison in July 2014. He was removed from prison after reports said he had privileges such as television, internet access and a mobile phone, and was accused of threatening to kill a warden.

The Peruvian government’s announcement on Wednesday marks the second high-profile extradition decision between the two countries in less than three weeks. In late April, former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo arrived in Lima after being extradited by the US to face charges of allegedly taking millions of dollars in bribes in a huge corruption scandal.


Associated Press writer Regina García Cano reported from Mexico City. AP journalist Kimberly Chandler of Montgomery, Alabama, contributed to this report.

https://www.twincities.com/2023/05/11/18-years-after-natalee-holloways-disappearance-peru-to-extradite-key-suspect-to-us/ 18 years after the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, Peru wants to extradite the main suspect to the US – Twin Cities


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