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Joran Van Der Sloot Pleads Not Guilty on Charges Related to Natalee Holloway Disappearance

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It has been nearly 20 years since Natalee Holloway disappeared on a graduation trip to Aruba. For years, police have eyed convicted murderer Joran van der Sloot as Holloway’s killer but have never had enough evidence to convict him.

In 2010, van der Sloot was indicted for crimes connected to extorting money from Beth Holloway, Natalee’s mother, in exchange for details about the location of her missing daughter’s remains.

Today, van der Sloot is back in the United States, and he faced a federal court in Alabama. The hope is that even though no one knows what happened to Natalee Holloway, this will give her family a bit of vindication against the man they believe killed her.

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Van der Sloot was allegedly among the last people to see Natalee Holloway alive.
The night she disappeared, Holloway reportedly spent the evening of May 30 at Carlos’n Charlie’s club in Oranjestad, Aruba, according to ABC News. It was widely reported that van der Sloot was among the people Holloway was with that night. He was under investigation in connection to the murder for years and arrested more than once but ultimately released.

His story changed multiple times, but van der Sloot consistently denied having anything to do with her disappearance or death. He told police that the last time he saw Holloway she was sitting on the sand on the beach.

In 2010, van der Sloot claimed to know the location of Holloway’s remains.
Although he said he didn’t kill her, van der Sloot began to make demands on Beth Holloway, wanting large sums of money in exchange for information about where to find her daughter’s remains. ABC News reported van der Sloot wanted $250,000 from her with $25,000 in upfront cash.

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In a recorded sting in March 2010, John Q. Kelly, an attorney for the Holloway family, met with van der Sloot in Aruba with $10,000 cash and Beth Holloway wired an additional $15,000 to his bank account, ABC News reported.

Then van der Sloot changed his story and told Kelly he was holding Holloway the night of her death, but when she asked to be put down, he threw her to the ground, where she hit her head on a rock and died on impact. He then led Kelly to the alleged location of the teen’s remains, which proved false.

In June 2010, van der Sloot was indicted in the US on federal charges of wire fraud and extortion in connection with the reported March 2010 meeting in Aruba with Beth Holloway’s attorney.

Van der Sloot fled to Peru.
The accused killer reportedly took the money from Beth Holloway and went to Peru. On May 30, 2010, five years to the day that Holloway went missing, van der Sloot killed 21-year-old Stephany Flores in Peru, ABC News reported. After her death, he fled to Chile, where he was later arrested. In 2012, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 28 years in a Peru prison.

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The Peruvian government was hesitant to extradite van der Sloot to the US.
Government officials in Peru originally wanted van der Sloot to finish his 28-year murder sentence in Peru before traveling to the US. Still, they conceded as long as he returned to their country.

CNN reported that officials changed their minds because van der Sloot needed to appear in court to face trial or the charges against him could be dropped.

Van der Sloot arrived in Alabama on June 8.
CNN reported that he took a 6 1/2-hour flight to Alabama from Peru on Thursday on what the Federal Bureau of Investigation called a foreign transfer of custody operation. He was heavily guarded on the flight and wore restraints. He reportedly arrived at a jail in Birmingham in a caravan of black SUVs.

“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 Natalee,” Beth Holloway said in a statement obtained by the New York Times.

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Refusing a translator, saying, “My English is perfect,” van der Sloot pleaded not guilty to the extortion and wire fraud charges. He will be held in the custody of US Marshals Service until trial, per ABC News.

Mark White, the attorney of Natalee’s father, Dave Holloway, maintains a firm belief that van der Sloot knows where Natalee’s remains are and is hopeful these charges will lead to the truth.

“Beth and Dave Holloway, they have been living every parent’s worst nightmare,” White said. “We all hope … that somehow the truth will come out,” he told ABC News.

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