Suspect in disappearance of Natalee Holloway now in US to face charges

Joran van der Sloot, the chief suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway, arrived in the United States on Thursday to face charges for attempting to extort money from the missing woman’s mother.

Van der Sloot was extradited to the United States from Peru where he has been serving a 28-year sentence for the murder of a Peruvian woman. 

He is wanted in the U.S. on one count each of extortion and wire fraud — the only charges to have ever linked the Dutch citizen to Holloway’s disappearance on the Caribbean island of Aruba. 

He was handed over in Peru to U.S. custody on Thursday, roughly a month after both countries agreed on his extradition.

He will face trial in Holloway’s home state of Alabama on charges that he tried to extort $250,000 from Holloway’s mother in 2010 to disclose the location of the young woman’ s body.

Eighteen-year-old Holloway was on a high school graduation trip with classmates to the Caribbean island of Aruba when she vanished. 

She was last seen leaving a bar with van der Sloot in 2005. 

Van der Sloot was questioned in Holloway’s disappearance, but never charged. 

U.S. prosecutors said in 2010 van der Sloot reached out to Holloway’s mother, Beth Holloway, seeking the money to disclose the location of the young woman’s body.

Holloway’s body was never found.

Joyce Vance, a federal prosecutor in Alabama when van der Sloot was charged, said his arrival in the southern U.S. state is a long-awaited opportunity for justice.

“We always say that justice delayed is justice denied, and there’s a certain simple truth to that,” said Vance, the former U.S. attorney for the northern district of Alabama, which includes Birmingham. “But this case makes me think sometimes justice delayed is actually worth it. It’s not optimal. It’s not what anybody would have wanted at the outset, but justice delayed is better than justice never delivered.”