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Suspect in 2005 disappearance of American teen Natalee Holloway faces US extradition

Holloway, who was 18 when she vanished, had traveled with her classmates on a senior trip days after graduation.

Published: May 11, 2023 8:30am

A primary suspect in the unsolved disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway during a trip to the Dutch Caribbean Island of Aruba in 2005 will be extradited to the United States from Peru.

The suspect, Dutch citizen Joran van der Sloot, has never been charged in Holloway's death, and he is being extradited to the U.S. on extortion and wire fraud charges. However, Holloway's family hopes that the extradition will in so way bring justice, or at least closure, to the teen's disappearance.

The government of Peru said Wednesday that van der Sloot will be sent to the U.S. to face charges related to an accusation that he attempted to extort the Holloways following their daughter's disappearance, The Associated Press reported.

Holloway, who was 18 when she vanished, had traveled with her classmates on a senior trip days after graduation. Witnesses last saw her leaving a bar with the then-18-year-old van der Sloot. 

Her body was never found, and no charges were filed. But van der Sloot was detained along with two other people weeks after her disappearance.

In 2010, van der Sloot was arrested in Peru for the murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores. He pleaded guilty to her death and was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

An Alabama grand jury indicted van der Sloot on wire fraud and extortion charges in 2010 for allegedly attempting to extort the Holloways for hundreds of thousands of dollars. U.S. prosecutors allege that van der Sloot accepted $25,000 from the Holloway family with the promise that in exchange he would reveal where her body is located before he moved to Peru.

"She would be 36 years old now. It has been a very long and painful journey, but the persistence of many is going to pay off. Together, we are finally getting justice for Natalee," her mother, Beth Holloway, said after the Peruvian government's announcement. 

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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