Joran van der Sloot, long suspected in the disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005, recently pleaded guilty to extortion and fraud in a federal court in Birmingham, Alabama. This case, however, did not include murder charges for Holloway’s presumed killing on foreign soil. Authorities in both the United States and Aruba have indicated that criminal charges related to the murder could still be pursued in the island nation.
Natalee Holloway was last seen on May 30, 2005, leaving a bar with van der Sloot, who became the prime suspect in her disappearance for nearly 18 years. The case took a significant turn when van der Sloot confessed to killing Holloway on a beach, alleging that it occurred after she refused his sexual advances. This confession came as part of a plea deal, which required him to submit to a polygraph test, which he passed. The FBI, along with international investigators, had relentlessly pursued the case for almost two decades.
While the polygraph test was a part of the investigation, an FBI official emphasized that it was just one of many tools used during their extensive inquiry. Specific details regarding other evidence gathered during this lengthy investigation were not disclosed, given the potential for ongoing investigations in Aruba.
In a statement, the FBI stated that they, along with federal prosecutors and the Holloway family, were satisfied that van der Sloot’s confession was truthful. Beth Holloway, Natalee’s mother, proclaimed outside the courthouse that “after 18 years, Natalee’s case has been solved.”
Despite the guilty plea and confession in the United States, authorities in Aruba consider the Holloway case an open investigation. They are now seeking investigative documents from the U.S. Department of Justice. This pursuit is due to the 12-year statute of limitations in Aruba for charging an individual with murder. The determination of whether van der Sloot can still be charged depends on various factors within the investigation, which remains open. Authorities in Aruba have not yet been formally informed by U.S. authorities of van der Sloot’s confession.
Upon completion of his American punishment, van der Sloot will return to Peru to serve the remainder of his sentence for the 2010 murder of Stephany Flores. He is currently imprisoned in the Challapalca prison, known for its harsh conditions, including freezing nighttime temperatures and a lack of cellphone service.
Throughout the years, van der Sloot offered inconsistent explanations for Holloway’s disappearance, including claims that he had pushed her, causing a head injury, and that his father, a prominent judge who passed away in 2010, had helped hide the body. In his recent confession, van der Sloot also stated that two friends who were with him on the night of Holloway’s death had left before the murder. The case has remained unsolved, with Holloway’s remains yet to be located. Authorities have not ruled out the possibility of finding her remains in the future.