Saturday 10 June 2023

Suspect In Natalee Holloway Disappearance Extradited To U.S. On Extortion Charges

 The prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway has been extradited to the U.S. to face federal charges of extortion and wire fraud.

Joran van der Sloot, who was 17 when Holloway went missing on the island nation of Aruba, landed in Birmingham, Alabama, Thursday afternoon, where he is accused of extorting money out of Holloway’s mother by offering to tell her where her daughter’s body was. The alleged information turned out to be false.

Van der Sloot was being held at the Piedras Gordas prison in Peru, where he was serving 28 years for the 2010 murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores. An additional 18 years was added to his sentence this January for trafficking cocaine while in prison.

Van der Sloot was transported to Jorge Chavez International Airport in Callao, Peru, and handed over to U.S. authorities, who boarded a plane with him to Alabama.

At the end of March 2010, two months before he murdered Flores, van der Sloot allegedly contacted a legal representative of Holloway’s mother Beth. Van der Sloot said he would tell Beth where her daughter’s body was and what led to her death if she paid him $25,000 upfront and an additional $225,000 later. The legal representative, John Q. Kelly, went to Aruba to meet with van der Sloot and gave him $100, after which Kelly reported the encounter to the FBI. A sting operation was set up to catch van der Sloot, who accepted a $15,000 wire transfer to his bank account and a cash payment of $10,000, all of which was recorded by undercover investigators.

In exchange for the money, van der Sloot told Kelly that his father – a judge – buried Holloway’s body in the foundation of a house. When authorities checked his story, they learned the house hadn’t even been built when Holloway disappeared. Van der Sloot eventually emailed Kelly to admit that he lied.


Instead of arresting van der Sloot right then, the FBI allowed him to take the $25,000 and leave for Bogotá, Colombia. He wouldn’t be indicted on the charges for another month, and it wouldn’t be until 2014 that the Peruvian government announced van der Sloot would be extradited to the U.S. to face those charges – in 2023.

A spokesperson for Holloway’s mother, Beth, released a statement on Thursday about van der Sloot’s extradition.

“For over 18 years, Beth Holloway has been hoping, praying, and fighting for this day — a day that is a monumental milestone in her relentless quest for seeking justice for Natalee,” spokesman George Patriot Seymore said, according to NBC News. “She is pleased that Joran van der Sloot has been extradited to the United States and will finally answer for his heinous crimes against her beloved daughter.”

Holloway’s body has never been found. Van der Sloot was the last person to see her alive, but neither he nor anyone else has been directly charged in connection to her disappearance.

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