Suspected killer of Natalee Holloway to be extradited to the United States

After 16 years of unanswered questions and far too much speculation, justice is finally shedding some light on the case of the disappearance of American student Natalee Holloway in Aruba. The Peruvian government granted the United States’ request to extradite Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in the case, to face a U.S. trial for alleged extortion and wire fraud related to Holloway.

Van der Sloot is currently serving 28 years in a Peruvian prison after being convicted of murdering 21-year-old Peruvian student Stephany Flores, whom he met in a Lima casino in 2010. Incidentally, this slaying occurred five years after Holloway disappeared in Aruba, where van der Sloot was then residing.

The U.S. indictment on van der Sloot charged him with wire fraud and extortion related to the Holloway case. The FBI stated that van der Sloot was attempting to extort $250,000 from Holloway’s mother, asking for $25,000 to disclose the location of her daughter’s body and then an additional $225,000 when the remains were recovered. However, in a recorded sting operation, the words of van der Sloot pointed to a home where he said the young woman was buried then later admitting to lying about the location in following emails.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Peru’s Minister of Justice Daniel Maurate acknowledged that the government approved the request from the United States so van der Sloot could be tried for these charges. Knowing that a 2001 treaty between Peru and the United States allowed a suspect to be temporarily extradited to face trial in the country of origin, the decision was made to honor the request to help clear Holloway’s name.

The news of van der Sloot’s extradition has brought optimism and hope to Holloway’s family that the truth of her disappearance will finally be revealed. The thoughts of her mother, Beth Holloway, were made known in a statement released Wednesday. “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 Natalie.”

Maximo Altez, van der Sloot’s lawyer, told the Associated Press that he will challenge the extradition decision once the Peruvian government officially notifies him. Previously, the suspect had made it known to the court that he would dispute any motions of extradition to the U.S.

The extradition of Joran van der Sloot to the United States marks a pinnacle achievement in this case that has been unsolved for over a decade. This is providing a much-needed sense of hope for Natalee Holloway’s family that justice can finally be served, and that the truth will soon be known.