Solved case: the suspect in the murder of young Natalee Holloway confesses 18 years later | International

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The 2005 murder of Natalee Holloway was solved this Wednesday, 18 years after the young American disappeared outside a nightclub during a high school trip to the Antillean island of Aruba. One of the main suspects, Joran van der Sloot, a 36-year-old Dutchman, whom witnesses saw walking with the victim that night, confessed his responsibility before a judge in Birmingham (Alabama), where the girl lived. There is still no trace of Holloway's body, who was declared legally dead in 2012.

Van der Sloot is serving time in a Peruvian prison for the 2010 murder in Lima of another student, Stephanie Flores Ramírez, 21, and was on trial in the United States for extorting Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway, whom he He asked her for $250,000 (a similar amount in euros at the current exchange rate) in exchange for information about her daughter's whereabouts. That extortion also happened in 2010.

Court documents with the transcript of the murderer's confession allow us to reconstruct what happened the night of Holloway's death. They met in a bar and ended up kissing on the beach. When she asked him to stop, he continued touching her. Holloway tried to get him off of her with a knee to the groin. Van der Sloot, standing, then kicked her “extremely hard,” which left her “definitely unconscious, perhaps even dead.” She then picked up a cement block and threw it on the victim's face. She carried the body to the water and pushed it out to sea.

Van der Sloot, who lived in the former Dutch colony in the Caribbean and was then a student at an international institute on the island, was questioned on two occasions. He was never charged with any crime.

That night he was with two other people, two brothers from Suriname, but the Holloway family's lawyers have ruled out the suspicion that he could have acted with the help of one of them. Her mother declared herself “satisfied to know that he killed her” this Wednesday at a press conference after hearing the confession of her daughter's murderer. “As far as I'm concerned, she's done. It's over. “She did it on her own and got rid of the body.”

Beth Holloway, mother of Natalee Holloway, in 2010 in Washington, with an image of her daughter in the background. Joshua Roberts (REUTERS)

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When the extortion attempt occurred, Beth Holloway agreed to pay Van der Sloot $25,000 and agreed that later, once the body was discovered, she would give him the remaining $225,000. The information provided by Van der Sloot turned out to be false. The FBI knew about that attempt, but never arrested him, because he was already in Peru, in jail for another murder of a young woman. In June of this year, the authorities of the South American country accepted a temporary extradition of the prisoner so that he could answer for that pending account in the United States. He must now return to Lima where he will continue his sentence.

“I would like to take the opportunity to apologize to the Holloway family and to my own family,” the confessed Alabama killer said. “I'm not the person I was then.”

The case of Holloway, a young American whose dream of seeing the world ends in a nightmare, a whole subgenre of the American moral tale, generated great interest in her country's public opinion at the time, and television stations did not hesitate to season the coverage of the event. broadcast live, with sensationalism. Cable news networks were also criticized for paying much more attention to the case of a rich white girl compared to other minority victims. Then came non-fiction books and documentaries of a language on the rise: true crime.

The victim of the other murder in Van der Sloot's criminal record is Stephany Flores, daughter of a rich Peruvian businessman, whose body was found in 2010 in a hotel room in Lima in the name of the Dutch citizen, who was in the city. to participate in an international poker tournament. The security cameras recorded him going up to the room with the girl. He was intercepted while fleeing the country in Viña del Mar (Chile). Back in Lima, he pleaded guilty and received 28 years in prison, a sentence he is serving in the Challapalca maximum security prison, more than four thousand meters above sea level, in the mountains of the Tacna region.

The Alabama judge sentenced him this week to 20 years in prison for the attempted blackmail. He could escape Holloway's murder, despite the confession. In statements to the AP, Mark White, lawyer for Natalee's father, Dave Holloway, said that in Aruba he cannot be prosecuted, because the crime has already expired.

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