As a news reporter, I learned the hard way to be leery of police arrests of high-profile personalities, but the Peruvian case of a young woman’s death linked to Joran van der Sloot of Natalee Holloway fame certainly attracted my attention.
Van der Sloot is being sought by Lima, Peru, police for questioning in the bloody death of Stephany Flores, 21, found in a Lima hotel room. He was arrested twice by police in Aruba but never prosecuted in the disappearance of Holloway.
The circumstances in both cases remain just that, circumstantial.
According to MSNBC and a variety of sources in Peru and Holland, Interpol has issued an international arrest warrant for the Dutchman, now 22.
Criminal police chief Gen. Cesar Guardia said a video tape shows van der Sloot with the woman at the hotel’s casino hours before her body was discovered in van der Sloot’s hotel room. The young Dutchman was attending a poker tournament at the hotel since May 14.
“We have an interview with a worker at the hotel who says she saw this foreigner with the victim enter his room,” said Guardia. The victim’s father, Ricardo Flores, a businessman and race car driver, told Lima reporters his daughter was discovered about 8 a.m. Monday and van der Sloot’s room was splattered with blood, indicating a struggle.
Guardia said immigration registries show van der Sloot left Peru and entered Chile at 1:42 p.m. local time Monday. The document also states he arrived in Peru via Colombia on an Avianca flight on May 14.
Van der Sloot was twice arrested and released for lack of evidence in the 2005 disappearance of Holloway from the Caribbean island. No trace of her has been found and van der Sloot remains the main suspect in the case, said Ann Angela, spokeswoman for the Aruba prosecutor’s office. His late father was a judge assigned to the island by the Dutch government.
The mystery of Holloway’s disappearance garnered wide attention on television and in newspapers in Europe and the United States. Holloway, 18, of Mountain Brook, Ala., was last seen in public leaving a bar on Aruba with van der Sloot and two Surinamese brothers — Deepak and Satish Kalpoe — hours before she was due to board a flight home from the school trip.
Since then van der Sloot has chosen a strange path towards enhancing his notoriety, including a concocted story two years ago to a Dutch television crime reporter claiming he was with Holloway when she collapsed on a beach, drunk. He said he believed she was dead and asked a friend to dump her body in the sea.
Judges subsequently refused to arrest van der Sloot on the basis of the tape, taken without the suspect’s knowledge. Chief prosecutor Peter Blanken told NBC News in February that the suspect’s story was “very unbelievable,” and no charges followed the confession. “The locations, names and times he gave just did not make sense,” Blanken told NBC News.
New York City attorney Joe Tacopina told reporters Wednesday he has not been in contact with van der Sloot for several months and did not know his whereabouts.
“Joran van der Sloot has been falsely accused of murder once before. The fact is he wears a bull’s-eye on his back now and he is a quote-unquote usual suspect when it comes to allegations of foul play,” Tacopina said.
Cross posted on
Posted comments are welcome and automatically go to my email address at [email protected] Remmers’ varied career spans 26 years in the newspaper business. Read a more thorough resume on The Remmers Report.
Jerry Remmers worked 26 years in the newspaper business. His last 23 years was with the Evening Tribune in San Diego where assignments included reporter, assistant city editor, county and politics editor.