BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Beth Holloway said that justice is finally on the horizon after Joran van der Sloot was arraigned in federal court on Friday morning.
Van der Sloot is the prime suspect in the May 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba during a Mountain Brook High School, Alabama, senior trip.
During a Friday morning arraignment, the Dutch national pleaded not guilty to charges of extortion and wire fraud in the U.S. after allegedly attempting to sell Beth Holloway, Natalee’s mother, information regarding the location of her daughter’s body.
Federal prosecutors say van der Sloot asked for $250,000 — $25,000 upfront for the information, and the rest to be paid out when the body of Natalee Holloway was positively identified.
However, van der Sloot lied to Beth Holloway’s lawyer, John Q. Kelly, about where her daughter’s remains were located, according to American prosecutors.
JORAN VAN DER SLOOT CASE: NATALEE HOLLOWAY SUSPECT’S ARRAIGNMENT WENT ‘EXACTLY AS EXPECTED,’ EXPERTS SAY
Van der Sloot walked into the Birmingham courtroom confidently with a smirk on his face, with Beth Holloway’s eyes on him for most of the arraignment.
“Now eighteen years later, the wheels of justice have finally begun to turn for our family and we are getting our long-awaited day in court,” Beth Holloway said. “With the felony arraignment complete, prosecution of this criminal case has officially begun. Joran van der Sloot’s not guilty plea is not disheartening to us, it simply means that his legal team is going to try to make the state prove the case against him. We are confident the U.S. Attorney’s office in Birmingham, Alabama will succeed in getting a conviction, and we are very grateful to them for their hard work on this case.”
“As I’ve said before, I was blessed to have had Natalee in my life for 18 years, and as of this summer, I have been without her for exactly 18 years. She would be 36 years old now. It has been a very long and painful journey, but we are finally getting justice for Natalee,” she added.
JORAN VAN DER SLOOT CASE: NATALEE HOLLOWAY SUSPECT PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO EXTORTION, WIRE FRAUD CHARGES
The alleged extortion scheme took place between March 29, 2010, and May 17, 2010, according to federal prosecutors.
JORAN VAN DER SLOOT CASE: PRIME NATALEE HOLLOWAY SUSPECT TO BE ARRAIGNED ON EXTORTION CHARGES
Van der Sloot then traveled to Peru and met Stephany Flores, 21, at a Lima casino owned by her father. Van der Sloot admitted to killing Flores, claiming he murdered her May 30, 2010, in a fit of anger after the 21-year-old found out he was connected to Natalee Holloway’s disappearance.
While van der Sloot was originally sentenced to 28 years in prison for the killing of Flores, more time was added because of a drug smuggling scandal he was involved in while in jail.
The charges brought against him in the U.S. were filed by prosecutors in 2010, but officials in Peru didn’t agree to release van der Sloot into American custody until this May, when a Peruvian court ordered the temporary transfer.
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