On May 30, 2005, while on a school vacation to the tiny Caribbean island nation of Aruba, Natalee Holloway disappeared. Teenagers Satish and Deepak Kalpoe and another youngster called Joran van der Sloot were last seen with the 18-year-old at 1:30 a.m. local time.
A few hours later, all of the Mountain Brook High School students and chaperones met in the hotel lobby to head to the airport for the journey home. But Holloway never showed up, and her things stayed in the room.
As potential suspects in Holloway’s disappearance, the Kalpoe brothers and van der Sloot were arrested multiple times by local officials before being freed for lack of proof. After van der Sloot attempted to extort $250,000 from the mother of the missing teenager, Elizabeth “Beth” Holloway, in exchange for information about her daughter’s death, a grand jury empaneled by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern US District of Alabama indicted him for wire fraud and extortion in 2010.
The defendant recently pled guilty in accordance with a plea agreement with the prosecution, and his punishment has been handed down.
Prime Suspect Pleads Guilty
Federal prosecutors said on October 18 that van der Sloot pled guilty to wire fraud and extortion for his “role in a scheme” to steal $250,000 from Beth Halloway. The defendant’s guilty plea was accepted by US District Judge Anna Manasco, who then handed down a 20-year jail term.
Van der Sloot testified about the death of the younger Holloway as part of his plea agreement. The prosecution submitted a transcript of his horrific confession in part. On the beach close to her hotel, he admittedly made an attempt at fondling her.
Holloway reportedly told van der Sloot to stop and kneed him in the groin area when he continued his efforts to grope her. He recounted assaulting her to the point of unconsciousness, “possibly … even death,” and bludgeoning her with a cinderblock he found in the sand.
Van de Sloot said he walked “up to about his knees” into the water, half pulling and half walking with her, and pushed her body into the Caribbean Sea. He indicated that he walked home afterward.
Beth Holloway spoke with reporters after van de Sloot’s hearing. “It’s over,” she proclaimed, adding that the defendant was “no longer a suspect in [her] daughter’s murder. He’s the killer.” She also said she confronted him in court. She called him a killer to his face and told him to “remember that every time you hear [your] cell door close.”