Joran Van Der Sloot: A Serial Killer in Aruba and Peru

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Van Der Sloot’s chilling self description gives us some insight into the mind of the murderer. He’s like a snake trying to hide beneath the radar. Posing as a rich, international playboy-poker star and restauranteur, the Dutchman attracts young girls interested in adventure and the more worldly side of life.

An American Girl in Aruba

Most of us first heard of Joran Van Der Sloot in early June, 2005 when the Aruban police arrested the 17-year-old in the disappearance of an American student, Natalee Holloway. Van Der Sloot’s involvement in the Holloway case is a convoluted sequence of events.

Natalee was a high school student on a graduating class holiday in Aruba when she disappeared on May 30, 2005. The Dutchman was arrested a few days later in connection with her disappearance. Then in September, the Aruban authorities released him to go back to the Netherlands to continue college. At that time, Van Der Sloot manufactured a story, which aired on A Current Affair, in which he admitted to lying to the police about dropping the young woman off at her hotel. Now he claimed that, at her request, he’d left her alone standing on the beach.

With no body, the police could not collect the necessary evidence to prosecute Van Der Sloot, so Beth and Dave Holloway, Natalee’s parents, pursued a lawsuit alleging personal injury due to the permissive environment created by the boy’s father, Paul. The Court dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds in August, 2006.

November 21, 2007 brought out a new search for Natalee’s body when at least 20 investigators descended on the Van Der Sloot home in Aruba. A spokesman for the investigators from the prosecutor’s office, Bivian van der Biezen, explained, “The investigation has never stopped and the Dutch authorities are completely reviewing the case for new indications.” The statement released by the prosecutor’s office said, “The team has indications that justify a more thorough search.” The search led to another arrest for Joren Van Der Sloot on November 21, 2007 for “suspicion of involvement in voluntary manslaughter and causing serious bodily harm that resulted in the death of Natalee Holloway.” The Aruban authorities still couldn’t find enough evidence to make a murder charge stick; they released Van Der Sloot about 3 weeks later.

A sting operation hosted by Peter R. de Vries, a Dutch investigative reporter, aired in February, 2008. It showed Van Der Sloot smoking marijuana and admitting to watching Natalee die. According to the accused man, Natalee had a seizure while they engaged in sex. He panicked when he realized that she had died and threw her in a boat, rowed out to sea and dumped the body overboard. De Vries later won an International Emmy Award for his work.

Near the end of 2008, Van Der Sloop’s crimes came back to bite him once again. Reporters found him working in the sex trafficking trade in Thailand. The Thai authorities are now pursuing criminal charges against him. At some point he related that he had sold Natalee off into the sex trade in South America, but later recanted the story.

In 2010 Van Der Sloot needed money. He attempted to extort $250,000 from the Holloway family in return for information regarding the location of their daughter’s body. The US Justice Department has obtained an arrest warrant through Interpol for wire fraud and extortion. Van Der Sloot commented that he tried the extortion plot because he wanted to “get back at Natalee’s family. Her parents have been making my life tough for five years.”

The Books

But Joran finally realized that the Holloways’ weren’t going away. He was getting bad international press about the allegations. As an effort toward salvaging what was left of his reputation, he hired a Dutch reporter and wrote a book, The Case of Natalie Holloway. “I see this book as my opportunity to be open and honest about everything that happened, for anyone who wants to read it,” he said.

In 2009, Beth Holloway responded with her best seller, Loving Natalee: A Mother’s Testament of Hope and Faith.

The Murder in Lima

On May 30, 2010 Stephany Flores Ramirez stumbled into the murder’s lair at a poker casino in Peru. She was a 21-year-old business student at the University of Lima. Her father is the president of the Peruvian Automobile Club and a prominent entertainment organizer.

They met for the first time at the casino and played poker before retiring for several hours together in Joran’s hotel room. After a time, he grew hungry and left Stephany alone in his hotel room while he purchased pastries and coffee. Upon returning, he found her at his laptop, apparently entranced by a website showing the history of the Holloway case.

At this point, the Dutchman lost all control and brutally murdered another young woman. The Peruvian police said that he elbowed her in the face, broke her nose, strangled her and threw her to the floor.

Van Der Sloot told the Chilean police that two armed bandits jumped him and Stephany Flores in his hotel room. Subsequently, they killed the woman.

Within hours the authorities escorted him to a prison cell in Lima with yet another story to tell. Under Peruvian questioning, Van Der Sloot attempted to explain his motive for killing this woman. “I lost control of my actions. I didn’t know what I was doing.”

According to the Peruvian newspaper, La Republica, Joran sat on his bed and just looked at the body. His mind was agitated. He needed to wind down and figure out how he could escape now that the killing was done. Then he drank the coffee, ate the cookies he’d just bought and took 3 amphetamine pills before he left the hotel room. He stole her wallet and SUV and fled to Chile.

To date, Van Der Sloot has confessed to both murders several times and then recanted his testimony saying that the authorities held him under duress and he was afraid for his own safety.

Inside the Killer’s Mind

Recently a psychiatric evaluation revealed that he is a mentally unstable individual with a sociopathic personality disorder. He also has a proclivity for gambling and drugs. He shares many of the same characteristics with Ted Bundy, an American serial killer.

The collateral damage from Joran’s antics has severely damaged his family, and their financial situation, as well as the family reputation. Neighbors commented that the family had an odd distribution of power at their home, in that Joran seemed to rule his parents. He treated his mother like his servant, and both parents were at his beck and call.

When his father, Paul, died recently from a heart attack. Joran’s mother, Anita, attributed the stress of Joran’s activities to her husband’s condition. Faced with the loss of her husband, possible bankruptcy caused by paying Joran’s legal fees, and her son’s continuing drama, she is exhausted.

“He is sick in the head. I just lost my husband and I could not even take the time to mourn about that,” Anita said. She claimed that Joran was always sneaking out of the house at night as a child. She noted that he is also an admitted liar. Now she says she has no more room in her heart for the pain caused by her son. She will never visit him in prison.

Legal Maneuvering

Joran Van Der Sloot is trying to get the charge reduced to manslaughter. This will earn him 6 to 20 years in prison. A murder conviction would get him up to 35 years.

According to President Alan Garcia Perez of Peru, Van Der Sloot, will have to stand trial for the murder and serve the term in Peru before any requests for extradition will be considered. Presently the Peruvian authorities have detained him indefinitely in a prison block of an eastern Lima prison.

Prison Life

Van Der Sloot has complained that the guards at Miguel Castro Castro prison have manhandled him, and he’s afraid of poisoning. He tried to order in gourmet meals to his cell, but that did not last long. Once he found out that he’d have to eat the same food as the general population, his melt-down ensued. He tried to escape from the prison by stripping off his clothes, screaming, running through the cell block and pounding on a door.

The naked Van Der Sloot shouted, “I want to get out! I haven’t killed anybody, but people here want to kill me!” The guards threw him into solitary confinement where he sits now–drained of some of that arrogance.

And Joran Van Der Sloot is right. Wardens and other officials say that his chances of surviving in prison are not good. Inmates don’t like others whose despicable crimes include killing and raping women or children. Once they get a chance at him, his fellow prisoners may reduce his life expectancy significantly.