Beth Holloway, the mother of Natalee Holloway, finally received some closure in the case of her daughter’s disappearance in Aruba in 2005. J
Oran van der Sloot, who had long been suspected in Natalee’s death, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and extortion charges in a Birmingham federal courtroom. Natalee Holloway, just 18 years old, vanished during a high school graduation trip to the Dutch Caribbean island.
Van der Sloot was the last person seen with her, making him an immediate suspect. However, the authorities in Aruba could not gather enough evidence to build a case against him. It wasn’t until 2010 that federal prosecutors in Alabama charged van der Sloot with extortion and wire fraud. By then, he was already imprisoned in Peru for the murder of another young woman, Stephany Flores, in his hotel room in Lima.
The U.S. government accused van der Sloot of attempting to extort $250,000 from Beth Holloway in exchange for information about Natalee’s death.
In court, van der Sloot agreed to reveal the details of Natalee’s demise and the location of her body as part of his plea deal. While the guilty plea may not have been the outcome Beth Holloway had hoped for, she expressed relief and closure.
“I can tell you with certainty that after 18 years, Natalie’s case is solved as far as I’m concerned,” she stated firmly outside the courthouse. “Joran van der Sloot is no longer the suspect in my daughter’s murder. He is the killer.”
Beth Holloway shared in court that van der Sloot bludgeoned her daughter after she rejected his sexual advances and then discarded her body in the ocean. Directly addressing van der Sloot, she clarified that she holds him responsible for Natalee’s death. “You are a killer, and I want you to remember that every time you hear that cell door close,” she declared. As a result of his guilty plea, van der Sloot has been sentenced to 20 years in a U.S. federal prison.
However, before serving his sentence for extortion and wire fraud, he will complete his time in Peru for the murder of Stephany Flores. If his penalty in Peru exceeds 20 years, he will not be required to return to the United States to finish his sentence. The resolution of the Natalee Holloway case brings some measure of peace and justice to Beth Holloway, who has tirelessly sought answers for her daughter’s disappearance. While nothing can bring Natalee back or fully heal the pain of her loss, this development provides a sense of closure and a step toward holding the responsible party accountable.