LIMA, Peru (AP) — The prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of American student Natalee Holloway on a Dutch Caribbean island is now facing extradition to face criminal charges in the United States.
Peru’s government on Wednesday issued an executive order allowing the temporary extradition of Joran van der Sloot. The Dutchman will be prosecuted for alleged extortion and wire fraud charges involving promises to lead Holloway’s family to her body, which was never found. She was later declared dead by a U.S. judge.
Van der Sloot has never been charged in connection with her disappearance.
A 2001 treaty between Peru and the U.S. allows a suspect to be temporarily extradited to face trial in the other country. It requires that the prisoner “be returned” after judicial proceedings have concluded.
Here’s a look at van der Sloot’s history:
Holloway, 18, of Mountain Brook, Alabama, a wealthy Birmingham suburb, vanishes while on a high school graduation trip to Dutch-owned Aruba, an island in the Caribbean. She never showed up for a flight home.
Her disappearance made international headlines and sparked a furor in the United States. Holloway’s parents went to the island to pass out fliers and monitor searches. They also appeared on national U.S. television shows to maintain pressure on investigators.
Classmates said they had seen Holloway outside a nightclub in a car with van der Sloot, then 17 years old, and two other local residents — Surinamese brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe.
They claimed to have dropped her off at her hotel.
All three were repeatedly detained but freed over a lack of evidence of a crime. The Kalpoes, who were security guards at a hotel near the one where Holloway was staying, were taken into custody in June and held for nearly a month.
Van der Sloot was held for an additional 60 days.
Van der Sloot and a journalist publish a book in Dutch about the case in which he denies killing Holloway and says: “I hope every day that Natalee will be found.”
Five years to the day that Holloway vanished, Stephany Flores was killed. The 21-year-old business student had met van der Sloot at a Lima casino.
Van der Sloot fled to Chile but was arrested four days later and taken back to Peru, where he confessed to killing her. He later tried to retract the confession.
Van der Sloot told police he flew into a rage when Flores discovered his connection to Holloway while they were playing online poker in his hotel room. Prosecutors accused him of killing Flores to rob her after learning she had won money at the casino.
The day he was arrested, van der Sloot was indicted in Alabama. Prosecutors accused him of accepting $25,000 in return for a promise to lead a lawyer for Holloway’s mother to her daughter’s remains. He never delivered on the offer.
Van der Sloot pleads guilty to killing Flores, telling a judge: “I truly am sorry for this act. I feel very bad.”
His lawyer argued that the killing was triggered by trauma from being the prime suspect in Holloway’s disappearance.
That same week, a judge in Alabama declares Holloway legally dead. A day later, van der Sloot is sentenced to 28 years in prison by a three-member panel of judges in Peru for killing Flores.
In January 2023, he was given an additional 18 years in prison for trafficking cocaine while behind bars.
The original sentencing document said van der Sloot was guilty of “first-degree murder with aggravating factors of ferocity and great cruelty” and detailed how he elbowed Flores in the face, beat her repeatedly, then strangled her with his bloodied shirt.
He also was ordered to pay $75,000 in reparations to the victim’s family.
Meanwhile, prison authorities said that van der Sloot was transferred from a Lima prison to a high-security Piedras Gordas lockup in response to reports that he had enjoyed privileges such as television, internet access and a cell phone. Piedras Gordas holds local crime bosses and terrorism convicts, including Shining Path guerrillas.
Van der Sloot marries his pregnant Peruvian girlfriend, Leidy Figueroa, 24, in a private ceremony at the prison.
Van der Sloot met Figueroa while she was selling goods inside the prison, according to his attorney.
Authorities send van der Sloot to a prison high in the Andes, saying he had threatened to kill the warden of the lockup near Lima.
Van der Sloot becomes a father. His attorney says the girl was born in Lima but far from the remote prison where van der Sloot is serving his prison sentence.
The child is named Dushy after van der Sloot’s grandmother.
Peru’s government decides to allow van der Sloot’s temporary extradition to the U.S. to face charges there. Under a 2001 treaty between the countries, a suspect can be temporarily extradited to face trial in the other country, but must “be returned” after judicial proceedings are concluded.