Nearly two decades after Natalee Holloway disappeared in Aruba, the man long suspected of killing the Alabama teen has confessed to killing her, according to a court filing.
“Done. Joren van der Sloot is not a suspect in my daughter’s murder. He was the killer,” Holloway’s mother, Beth Holloway, said Wednesday.
“He made an offer in which he finally admitted to killing Natalie,” Holloway said. “After 18 years, Natalie’s case is solved.”
In a proffer, a defendant provides information they know about a crime, often as part of a plea deal.
Van der Sloot, 36, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to extorting and defrauding the Holloway family. He is accused of trying to sell information about the whereabouts of Holloway’s remains to his family in exchange for $250,000.
Holloway’s body has never been found. In 2012, an Alabama judge signed an order declaring him legally dead.
But on Wednesday, a federal judge reviewing van der Sloot’s proffer said there was a reason Natalee Holloway’s body was never found — but she didn’t elaborate.
But the death of a Peruvian woman who Holloway and van der Sloot confessed to murdering prompted Judge Anna Manasco to sentence van der Sloot to 20 years on the federal charges.
“I have considered your confession to the brutal murder of Natalee Holloway,” the judge said after reading van der Sloot’s speech.
“Except for two beautiful women who refused your sexual advances, you have brutally murdered in separate incidents several years apart.”
Van der Sloot was arrested several times in connection with Holloway’s death. He was later released by Aruban authorities citing lack of direct evidence.
Van der Sloot is serving a 28-year sentence in Peru for the 2010 murder of Stephanie Flores. Peruvian authorities allowed him to be temporarily released to the United States in June to face charges of extortion and wire fraud.
Van der Sloot will return to Peru to complete his murder sentence in the Flores case. Later, he will return to the United States to begin his prison sentence on federal extortion and wire fraud charges.
18 years of mystery and tragedy
Holloway was on a high school graduation trip to Aruba when she disappeared in 2005.
The 18-year-old was last seen leaving the nightclub with two other men, Van der Sloot and brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpo.
All three were arrested in 2005 but released due to insufficient evidence.
They were re-arrested and charged in 2007 with “participating in the voluntary manslaughter of Natalee Holloway or causing great bodily harm to Natalee Holloway, causing her death,” Aruban prosecutors said at the time.
But weeks later, an Aruban judge ordered Van der Sloot’s release, citing a lack of direct evidence that Holloway died of a violent crime or that Van der Sloot was involved in such a crime. The Kalpo brothers were also released.
Although U.S. authorities do not have jurisdiction over the criminal investigation in Aruba, a federal grand jury in Alabama charged Van der Sloot with conspiring to sell information about Holloway’s remains to his family.
According to AccusationVan der Sloot’s project took place between March and May 2010.
He was indicted in June 2010 on charges of extortion and wire fraud.
In the weeks between the extortion and the indictment, van der Sloot killed 21-year-old Flores in her hotel room in Peru on May 30, 2010.