A Dutchman who was the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of an American woman vacationing in Aruba has confessed to her murder, prosecutors and the victim’s family said Wednesday.
Joran van der Sloot, 36, as part of a guilty plea entered in a related case, confessed to killing Natalee Holloway on the Caribbean island, they said.
Holloway, 18, disappeared while on a high school graduation trip to Aruba. Her body has never been found.
Van der Sloot pleaded guilty during a court hearing in Birmingham, Alabama, on Wednesday to attempting to extort money from Holloway’s mother in 2010 in exchange for information about her daughter’s disappearance.
“Today marks the end of 18 years of wondering what happened to Natalee Holloway,” US district attorney Prim Escalona said following the hearing. “Natalee can rest knowing that justice was served.”
Holloway’s mother, Beth Holloway, also spoke to reporters outside the court, saying “today, I can tell you with certainty that after 18 years, Natalee’s case is solved.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s over,” she said.
“He can’t be tried here for Natalee’s murder,” Holloway said. “But I’m satisfied knowing that he did it. He did it alone and he disposed of her alone.
“I won’t give you the details of his brutal confession.”
Van der Sloot was extradited to the United States in June from Peru, where he is serving a 28-year prison sentence for the 2010 murder of Stephany Flores, a 21-year-old Peruvian woman.
Under an agreement with the Peruvian authorities, Van der Sloot is to be returned to Peru following the US extortion case to serve the remainder of his sentence there for the murder of Flores.