A screenshot of WHAS11 News coverage of Natalee Holloway's murder, which shows a side by side of her missing poster on a beach and a headshot of Holloway.

18 Years Later, the Natalee Holloway Case Finds Predictable Yet Devastating Closure

The Natalee Holloway Case has captivated the United States for years, as has the chase for prime suspect and convicted murderer Joran van der Sloot. Almost two decades after the disappearance of the Alabama 18-year-old, van der Sloot has finally confessed to her murder. On Wednesday, he pled guilty in federal court to defrauding and extorting Holloway’s family. In a ghoulish development, he was attempting to extort $250,000 from Holloway’s mother in exchange for the location of Natalee’s remains. 

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Van der Sloot gave a proffer, which is usually part of a plea deal where defendants give information about a crime. He then admitted to killing Holloway after she rejected his sexual advances. This key fact is important because it highlights the relentless assault on women’s sexual autonomy and agency. Judge Anna Manasco sentenced van der Sloot to 20 years on federal charges. He was already serving 28 years for killing a Peruvian woman, Stephany Flores, in 2010. Flores also allegedly denied his sexual advances. Van der Sloot was released to the U.S. in June to face extortion and fraud charges. Before this plea agreement, he was going to return to Peru to finish the murder sentence for the Flores case, but now his U.S. federal sentence will be served concurrently with that sentence instead. 

Van der Sloot has been the leading suspect in the killing of Natalee Holloway and has been arrested multiple times. However, Aruban authorities kept citing that there was a lack of evidence (her body was never recovered) and were forced to release him. In 2005, Holloway was visiting Aruba for her high school graduation trip, where she met van der Sloot and two other men at a nightclub. She was last seen leaving the nightclub with the three men. Van der Sloot is now 36, and I hope that he never sees the light of day. He is being punished for most of what he has done in his monstrous life, although it is unclear if he will ever be formally charged or sentenced for Natalee’s murder. The statute of limitations has already passed in Aruba, but Aruban authorities are still deciding how to proceed in light of his confession. 

Beth Holloway, the mother of Natalee, released a statement after the confession. She said,

“It’s over. Joran van der Sloot is no longer the suspect in my daughter’s murder. He is the killer.” 

While there’s finally some closure for the Holloway family after reading the contents of Sloot’s proffer, the judge in the case believes Holloway’s body will never be found. I hope we will all take the time to remember the victims here and continue to wish the best for their families and loved ones. 

(featured image: screenshot/WHAS11/YouTube)

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