After 18 years since Natalee Holloway disappeared while on a senior high school class trip to Aruba in 2005, the case has closed with a confession from the long time primary suspect, Joran van der Sloot.
On Wednesday, the now 36-year-old admitted a brutal killing of the 18-year-old Alabama girl who rebuffed his sexual advances on a beach, and afterward dragged her body into the sea and let go. Her remains have never been found.
Natalee’s mother Beth Holloway said van der Sloot’s confession was verified with a polygraph test. He will not be charged with the killing, and cannot be tried for it in the U.S.
He said they began kissing while lying on the beach, but she refused further sexual advances. When he persisted, he said, she kneed him in the crotch, and he kicked her “extremely hard” in the face.
Audio of the full confession:
Van der Sloot was a 17-year-old Dutch student who was among three people seen leaving the Carlos’n Charlie’s nightclub with Holloway in the early hours of May 30, 2005 in Orangestad, Aruba. He was arrested twice but never charged with a crime.
Five years to the day later, van der Sloot killed another young woman, Stephany Flores, in Peru. She was beaten to death and found in van der Sloot’s hotel room. Investigators suspect Flores found information on his computer that implicated him in the Holloway case.
Van der Sloot was serving a 28-year sentence in Peru for the Flores murder when he was extradited to the U.S. to face charges of extortion. Van der Sloot accepted $25,000 in cash from the Holloway family in March of 2010, in exchange for a promise to lead them to her body in Aruba. Van der Sloot had demanded that Holloway’s mother pay him another $225,000 when the remains were recovered.
The confession to Holloway’s killing was part of a plea deal in the extortion and wire fraud case. He was sentenced to concurrently serve 20 years in the U.S. case, but will finish serving his 28-year term in Peru first.