It’s been more than 18 years since 18-year-old Natalee Holloway went missing during her graduation trip to Aruba, but her family is hoping they can finally find answers about what happened to their daughter.
Joran van der Sloot, a longtime suspect in the Alabama teenager’s disappearance in 2005, is now facing racketeering and fraud charges after he allegedly plotted to sell information on the whereabouts of Holloway’s remains. After spending years behind bars in Peru for the murder of another woman, van der Sloot was extradited to the United States on Thursday.
He appeared in federal court in Alabama on Friday and pleaded not guilty. His attorney did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Although van der Sloot is not being charged in the current case over Holloway’s disappearance, her family remains hopeful the court case will bring them answers.
“These specific charges do not affect me directly, but I have faith that this prosecution will lead us to the truth about Natalee. “I remain grateful for all that the US Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the US Marshal’s Office have done here in Birmingham,” Holloway’s father, Dave Holloway, said in a statement to HuffPost on Friday. “We are also deeply grateful for the support from people around the world who are sharing [a] general belief that good must always triumph over evil.”
Who Was Natalee Holloway?
Holloway was 18 and just graduating from Mountain Brook High School in Birmingham, Alabama, when she disappeared while on a class trip to Aruba. She was last seen getting into a silver Honda around 1:30 a.m. after the students’ last outing on May 30, 2005, the authorities said FBI.
In a two-part interview with oxygen In 2017, Jessica Caiola, a classmate and friend, described Holloway as a “beautiful person” who is kind and generous. Caiola was one of the last to see both van der Sloot and Holloway before Holloway disappeared.
Caiola said she remembered seeing van der Sloot for the first time at the hotel’s casino two days before Holloway’s disappearance and again at the bar on the night of her disappearance.
Caiola said the group of friends left the bar to get street food, and as they waited for a shuttle, she recalled seeing Holloway in a silver car with its windows down as it pulled away.
“My impression was, ‘Oh great, she found a ride back to the hotel,'” Caiola said.
Holloway never made it back to the hotel, and her friends didn’t realize she was gone until the next morning.
Her body was never found and authorities pronounced her dead in 2012.
Who is Joran van der Sloot and why was he suspected?
When Holloway was last seen, three people were in the car: Van der Sloot and brothers Satish and Depak Kalpoe, who were all teenagers at the time.
They told police officers they had visited a beach with Holloway that day before taking her back to her hotel. CNN reports.
Van der Sloot and the brothers were arrested a few days later, on June 9, 2005, in connection with her disappearance.
Paul van der Sloot, Aruba judge and van der Sloot’s father, was arrested shortly thereafter on suspicion of involvement in Holloway’s disappearance. He was released three days later.
Van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers were released on September 3, 2005, but were still under investigation at the time. Van der Sloot soon left the Caribbean island, but was forced to remain in Dutch territory due to his release.
What happened after his release?
After his release in 2005, van der Sloot made several appearances in the media to clear his name and even wrote his own autobiographical Report on Holloway’s disappearance in Dutch.
In an interview with ABC News’ Chris Cuomohe gave his version of events On the night of Holloway’s disappearance, he maintained his innocence, arguing that the US media had “wrongly” portrayed him as a “murderer and rapist.”
“In Aruba, that was part of my lifestyle… going out, being single, and picking up girls,” he said. “Date them out, have a good time, and then say goodbye.”
Van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers were arrested again on November 21, 2007 after investigators said they had new evidence, but were released the following month. The proceedings were discontinued on December 18, 2007 CNN.
In In 2008, prosecutors in Aruba said it was van der Sloot secretly taped describing how on the day of her disappearance, Holloway began to tremble and collapsed as if having a fit as the two kissed on the beach. Although Aruba prosecutors said the taped confession was admissible in court, it was insufficient to warrant an arrest.
VanderSloot moved to Thailand the same year.
What charges have been brought against van der Sloot in the US?
Between March and May 2010, van der Sloot contacted Holloway’s mother through her attorney, demanding $250,000 in exchange for information he felt he could provide about the location where Holloway was buried a federal indictment at that time.
According to the indictment, Holloway’s mother eventually paid him $25,000 for the information and promised to pay the rest after Holloway’s remains were found. But the information provided by van der Sloot turned out to be false and the FBI launched an investigation.
A grand jury indicted van der Sloot in July 2010 on racketeering and wire fraud charges, but he was not immediately arrested as he had just been arrested on another count in South America.
What happened in South America?
Five years after Holloway’s disappearance, van der Sloot, now 22, was accused of killing a 21-year-old Peruvian woman by luring her to his Lima hotel room and beating her to death Interpol.
Van der Sloot was arrested in Chile on June 3, 2010 in connection with the death of Stephanie Flores Ramirezthe daughter of the well-known businessman and racing driver Ricardo Flores. Hotel staff in Lima found her body on June 2, 2010, and van der Sloot was extradited to Peru.
In a signed confession translated by The Associated Press, van der Sloot said that he and Flores returned to his hotel room to play poker on his laptop at around 5:30 am on May 30, 2010, exactly five years after Holloway’s disappearance. Van der Sloot claimed in the admission that Flores saw an email threatening him with a death threat and told her he was a suspect in the Holloway case. He said she then hit him and he elbowed her on the nose. According to the document, he then strangled her.
Van der Sloot pleaded guilty to the Flores murder nearly two years later, on January 11, 2012, and was sentenced to 28 years in prison and paying the Flores family $75,000.
Where are we today?
In 2021, van der Sloot faced another 18-year sentence after he was accused of smuggling cocaine into prison The Netherlands Times reported.
He was originally scheduled to be extradited to the US after serving his sentence in Peru, but Peruvian officials agreed to a temporary transfer earlier in May. reported the AP.
Van der Sloot arrived in the United States on Thursday surrounded by federal agents.
John Q. Kelly, the attorney who has represented Beth Holloway since her daughter’s disappearance, said in a statement following van der Sloot’s plea of innocence on Friday that Holloway’s family was “thrilled” that the indictment took place, calling her one Step closer to arresting him is responsible for his role in the case.
“For nearly two decades, Beth has tirelessly sought answers and fought for justice for her beloved daughter,” the statement said. “The journey has been emotionally and legally trying and full of obstacles, but Beth’s determination has never wavered. Today she finds solace in the fact that the wheels of justice are finally turning and van der Sloot must atone for his crimes on US soil.”
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