Thursday, October 19th 2023, 8:46 am
Joran van der Sloot admitted to killing Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005 in a confession that was revealed publicly Wednesday as he entered a plea deal with federal prosecutors in an extortion case stemming from the disappearance that received international attention.
"Joran van der Sloot is no longer the suspect in my daughter's murder," Holloway's mother Beth Holloway told reporters outside the federal courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama, after a plea and sentencing hearing for the 36-year-old Dutchman. "He is the killer."
Van der Sloot confessed that he killed Natalee Holloway while she was on a high school graduation trip to the Caribbean island nation in an interview that his attorney conducted. The interview was provided to U.S. authorities as part of a plea deal for federal charges that van der Sloot tried to extort a quarter-million dollars from Beth Holloway in exchange for information about her daughter's death.
Van der Sloot hasn't been charged in Natalee Holloway's killing and can't be tried in the U.S. for it.
"He said that after killing her on the beach in Aruba, he put her into the water and that was the last that he ever saw her," Beth Holloway told reporters. "... I'm satisfied knowing that he did it, he did it alone and he disposed of her alone."
Natalee Holloway's father Dave Holloway said he was able to watch van der Sloot's confession and that he believes it.
The killing was intentional because his daughter "dared to stand up for her own body," Dave Holloway said in a victim impact statement to U.S. District Judge Anna Manasco that was released after Wednesday's proceedings.
She "defended herself against his unwanted sexual advances," Dave Holloway wrote in the statement. "Protecting herself enraged an aggressive predator to the point of murder. He murdered Natalee, and then tortured and extorted those who loved her most."
"He is evil personified," Holloway said in the statement.
Van der Sloot provided graphic details about the killing in the interview with his attorney.
He and Natalee Holloway lied down on a beach together at night and started kissing. As the kissing continued, van der Sloot started touching her. When Holloway said no and told van der Sloot to stop, he continued touching her anyway.
"She ends up kneeing me in the crotch," van der Sloot said.
Van der Sloot said he stood up and kicked her "extremely hard" in the face. Then he found a large cinderblock and hit her with it. Seeing what he had done, he moved her body into the ocean until the water was up to his knees and he pushed her out to sea.
Beth Holloway said van der Sloot's confession was verified with a polygraph test.
Van der Sloot pleaded guilty to extortion and wire fraud charges during Wednesday's hearing, and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison to run concurrently with his 28-year sentence in Peru in another killing. He was charged in 2010 with trying to extort Beth Holloway in exchange for information about her missing daughter's remains, but he wasn't extradited to the U.S. until earlier this year.
As part of the plea deal, an attorney for Beth Holloway said van der Sloot had to provide details about what happened to Natalee Holloway. Before Manasco imposed her sentence, Beth Holloway told the court that van der Sloot had said he killed her daughter.
Holloway was legally declared dead in 2012. Her remains haven't been found. She was last seen with van der Sloot on the Caribbean island nation during the May 2005 trip.
The extortion case dates back to 2010, when Holloway had been missing for nearly five years. According to a grand jury indictment, van der Sloot contacted Beth Holloway's attorney John Q. Kelly and offered to give him details about how Natalee Holloway died and about the location of her remains in Aruba for an initial payment of $25,000.
In the next part of the scheme, when the remains were confirmed to be Holloway's, her mother would then pay van der Sloot an additional $225,000, according to the indictment.
Van der Sloot took Kelly to a site in Aruba, but after securing the initial $25,000 payment, van der Sloot said in an email that the information he provided was "worthless," according to the indictment.
In June, van der Sloot was extradited to the U.S. from Peru, where he has been incarcerated since he pleaded guilty in 2012 to killing 21-year-old college student Stephany Flores.
Beth Holloway said she was "overcome with mixed emotions" by van der Sloot's extradition.
"I am hopeful that some small semblance of justice may finally be realized, even though no act of justice will heal the pain we've endured," she said in a statement.
Dave Holloway called the extradition "an important step toward accountability and hopefully, justice."
U.S. Attorney Prim Escalona said van der Sloot would be returned to Peru after the case concludes.
Hannah Fraser-Chanpong contributed reporting.
October 19th, 2023
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