Joran van der Sloot

Joran van der Sloot pleaded guilty to the 2010 murder of Stephany Flores Ramirez in Peru and is suspected in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway.


Joran van der Sloot was born on August 6, 1987, to wealthy parents in Arnhem, Gelderland, Netherlands. When he was 16, he moved with his family to Aruba, where his father would work as a judge. Van der Sloot became infamous for his involvement in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, and was charged in 2010 with the murder of Stephany Flores Ramirez. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

Early Life

Infamous person Joran Van der Sloot was born on August 6, 1987, to parents Paulus and Anita Van der Sloot in Arnhem, Gelderland, Netherlands. Joran grew up in an affluent household; his father worked as a prestigious lawyer, and his mother was a socialite and school teacher. The family often traveled to exotic locals to keep up with Paulus' jobs. The eldest of three brothers, Joran was an honors student who took an avid interest in soccer and hoped as a teenager to play for a college in Tampa, Florida.

At 16, van der Sloot and his family relocated to Aruba, so that Paulus could accept a five-year contract as a judge for the local government. With a father as one of only four judges on the island, and a family friend as acting police chief in the area, Joran lived a life of privilege and acted with impunity. He regularly gambled on a $5,000 line of credit his father set up for him, partied with friends and picked up women. Anonymous sources later told media outlets that they believed van der Sloot was dosing the women he met with date rape drugs around this time, though these allegations have yet to be proven.

Meeting Natalee Holloway

Van der Sloot became a household name in 2005, when he met Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway while she and her friends vacationed on the island of Aruba. Holloway, 18, was celebrating her high school graduation on an informal field trip with nearly 100 other classmates from Mountain Brook High School in Birmingham, Alabama. She and her friends met van der Sloot while they were gambling at a local casino. They invited their new Dutch friend to meet them later, at an Oranjestad, Aruba, bar known as Carlos & Charlie's. Joran agreed. He then called two friends, brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe, and asked that they pick him up that night and accompany him to the bar.

That evening van der Sloot snuck out of his family's large compound to meet with Natalee and her friends. According to later testimony, the three young men headed to Carlos & Charlie's, where Holloway began dancing with van der Sloot and drinking heavily. At the protests of her friends, Natalee jumped in the car with van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers.


After Holloway didn't arrive at her hotel the next morning, police began an island-wide search for the teen. A week later after collecting their initial evidence, police arrested Joran, Deepak and Satish as suspects in Holloway's disappearance. The boys' testimonies initially coincided, saying that they all went to the beach with Holloway and then dropped her back off at her hotel. This story soon dissolved, however, when video surveillance tape of the hotel revealed that the Kalpoe brothers' car never dropped Holloway back home. Armed with a new confession, Deepak and Satish told investigators that they left van der Sloot and Holloway at a fisherman's hut on a nearby beach, at Hollway's insistence. The brothers said they didn't hear from either teen for the rest of the evening.

Van der Sloot told a different story to the police. He said that after he and Natalee were dropped off, they walked down the shoreline and became intimate. But Holloway didn't want to go back to the hotel. Tired, van der Sloot left Holloway on the beach and called the Kalpoes to pick him up. Later evidence, including text messages and Internet chat logs, reveal that van der Sloot's testimony was inaccurate.

As Joran's story became suspicious, police made van der Sloot their prime suspect. They also arrested van der Sloot's father, believing that he may have helped his son hide the body and had aided in the boys' testimonies to police. Without enough evidence to detain either member of the van der Sloot family, and with their special legal connections, police let both father and son go. The van der Sloot family returned to Holland at the end of the summer, and Natalee's body was never found.

Hidden Camera Confession

Van der Sloot headed to Arnhem in the Netherlands to study engineering in 2006. But in 2007 he was arrested a second time when Aruba's then-chief prosecutor, Hans Mos, said he received new evidence in the case. Clues included an Internet chat log in which van der Sloot declared Holloway dead on the same day she disappeared. Van der Sloot was brought back to Aruba for trial, but judges ruled the new evidence was not enough to indict the student.

Dutch journalist Peter de Vries pulled van der Sloot back into the spotlight in 2008, after he managed to get a taped confession from the 22-year-old using a hidden camera. In the tape, a man named Patrick van der Eem, who posed as a drug dealer and criminal to become van der Sloot's friend, pulled an entirely new story from Joran. Van der Sloot said that, after the couple had sexual intercourse, they took a walk on the beach. Holloway, heavily intoxicated, began having a seizure. Scared, van der Sloot watched as the girl died in his arms. He then called a friend, who put the body on a boat and dumped it in the ocean. They determined that if a body didn't appear, there was no proof of a murder.

According to van der Eem, Joran would tell this same story over and over, admitting that he was there at the time of Holloway's death. The taped evidence aired on television, and helped push for a new investigation into the Holloway disappearance. But the video didn't hold up legally; Aruba police deemed the tape to be more bragging, and not actually a true confession. Van der Sloot also insisted that he only told the story to seem tough to van der Eem, who he thought was a professional drug dealer.


On February 11, 2010, van der Sloot's father, Paulus, died of a heart attack at the age of 57 while playing tennis. Many still believe that the elder van der Sloot had political pull in the country that kept his son from going to jail. Others maintain that Paulus helped hide Holloway's body, and then instructed the boys as to how they would confess to officials. Holloway's family insists that Paulus insinuated his son's guilt in conversations with them, but there remains no hard evidence to conclude that this is true.

In recent years, Joran van der Sloot lived a playboy lifestyle, siphoning off of his late father's inheritance and selling his story about Natalee for money. One of the more outrageous stories, as covered by the Fox News outlet, was that he sold Holloway into white slavery. He later recanted this testimony. Then in May of 2010, van der Sloot was charged in Alabama with the attempted extortion of $250,000 from Holloway's family, in return for disclosing the location of her body. According to a sworn statement by Hollway's parents, van der Sloot received a down payment of $15,000, which was wired to a Netherlands bank by the Hollways in order to get information about their missing daughter. He then led the Holloways' lawyer to a housing lot, saying that Natalie's body had been buried there with his father's help. This testimony, as in the other confessions, proved to be a hoax.

Murder of Stephany Flores

Van der Sloot would use the money he'd made to fund a gambling trip to South America. On May 30, 2010, exactly five years to the day of Holloway's disappearance, the body of 21-year-old Stephany Flores Ramirez was found in a Lima, Peru, hotel room registered under van der Sloot's name. According to Flores' father, the girl had been staying with a girlfriend in Lima when she met van der Sloot. The Dutchman was in town for a poker tournament, and closed circuit television cameras caught the couple leaving a casino in Lima together. A witness later testified that they spotted the couple heading to van der Sloot's room. Stephany Flores was never seen alive again.

Authorities say the hotel room where Flores was found was covered in blood, indicating a struggle. The girl was beaten, her neck broken, and her body wrapped in a hotel sheet. Van der Sloot was arrested in Chile several days later and returned with authorities to Peru, where he reportedly confessed to the murder. Van der Sloot told Lima police that he had left Flores in the hotel room while he went to get them coffee. When he returned, the woman was on his laptop—supposedly looking at evidence that may have tied him to the Holloway murder. Van der Sloot flew into a rage, then allegedly snapped Flores' neck. He also admitted to emptying the girl's wallet, then fleeing the scene.

Van der Sloot was charged with the Flores murder in June 2010, and sent to Peruvian jail to await trial. Van der Sloot's attorney argued that the confession should be nullified on the grounds that it was made in the presence of a police-appointed defense lawyer. A Peruvian police chief disagreed, citing that van der Sloot was not only properly represented at the time, but that evidence included blood stains found on van der Sloot's clothing.

Arrest and Imprisonment

On June 21, 2010, a Dutch newspaper revealed that van der Sloot had again recanted his murder testimony. This time, van der Sloot said that he had made his confession to the Flores murder under duress, and that Peruvian officials told him he would be transferred to the Netherlands if he admitted to the killing. "I was tricked," van der Sloot told the Dutch paper. "I'll explain later how it all happened." But he was singing a different tune in January 2012. He pleaded guilty to killing Flores and was sentenced to 28 years in prison. Van der Sloot was also ordered by the court to give his victim's family $75,000.

In 2013, Peru agreed to extradite van der Sloot to the United States after he completes his prison time in Peru. He will be sent to America to face extortion charges there. The following year, news broke van der Sloot was planning to get married. He had met a Peruvian woman named Leydi Figueroa through another inmate at his prison in Lima. Van der Sloot and Figueroa will tie the knot in either May or June. The couple is also expecting their first child together.  

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