Joran van der Sloot, the top suspect in Natalee Holloway’s 2005 disappearance, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning in a federal case accusing him of trying to extort $250,000 from the missing teen’s mother, according to the Associated Press. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
As part of the plea deal, Van der Sloot agreed to reveal all the information he knew about Holloway’s disappearance and allow her parents to hear his discussion with law enforcement in real time. The federal judge presiding over the case said van der Sloot admitted to killing the teen in his proffer, CNN reported. But the details of the proffer have not been revealed outside of the courtroom yet.
According to the Associated Press, the judge also said she considered his confession in the sentencing decision. “You have brutally murdered, in separate instances years apart, two young women who refused your sexual advances,” U.S. Judge Anna Manasco said, referring to Holloway and another murder he admitted to in Peru.
The plea and sentencing hearing for van der Sloot took place in Birmingham, Alabama, not far from where Holloway lived, the Associated Press said. He had previously entered a plea of not guilty in the case for extortion and wire fraud, and has not been charged for Holloway's death.
U.S. prosecutors said that in 2010, van der Sloot sought money from Natalee Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway, to reveal the location of her daughter’s body. A grand jury indicted him that year.
Natalee Holloway, who was 18 at the time, vanished during a high school graduation trip with classmates to Aruba nearly two decades ago. The Alabama teen was last seen leaving a nightclub with van der Sloot, a Dutch citizen who was attending an international school on the island at the time, and two other men.
All three men were arrested multiple times in connection to the case but were released each time due to lack of evidence.
The mysterious disappearance sparked years of news coverage and countless true-crime podcasts. Van der Sloot was identified as a main suspect but no charges were filed in the case.
A judge declared Holloway legally dead in 2012 but her body has never been found.
Her family has long sought answers about her disappearance. Over the years van der Sloot has given a variety of conflicting accounts about what happened.
Van der Sloot was temporarily extradited to Alabama from Peru, where he’s serving a 28-year sentence after confessing to killing a 21-year-old Peruvian woman in his hotel room in 2010.
He will return to Peru to finish his murder sentence after his legal proceedings conclude in the U.S. Van der Sloot will then return to the U.S. to serve his time for the federal charges, CNN reported.
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com