Nearly two decades after Natalee Holloway’s disappearance, the man long-connected to the high schooler’s unsolved case is expected to go in front of an American court and plead guil*ty — to extortion,
In June, Alabama extradited Joran van der Sloot, who is currently 36 years old and is serving a 28-year mur*der sentence in Peru subsequent to his confession regarding the death of another student, Stephany Flores Ramírez. In connection with the Natalee case, van der Sloot was charged with one count of extortion and one count of wire fraud.
Based on an examination of the court record for the Northern District of Alabama conducted on Friday, it appears that van der Sloot, who initially entered a not-gu*ilty plea, might reconsider his position and confess to extorting money from Beth Holloway, the mother of Natalee, in the aftermath of her daughter’s disappearance. The online entry indicates that Van der Sloot’s confession and sentencing hearing are scheduled for Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. Central Time.
Van der Sloot is expected to enter a g*uilty plea in the case, according to Beth’s attorney, John Q. Kelly, who told PEOPLE that van der Sloot agreed to divulge details of Natalee’s death as part of the plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors. This may provide Beth with the answers she has been seeking since the loss of her only child. (The anticipated plea agreement is reported by both The New York Times and The Associated Press.)
On May 30, 2005, Natalee was last seen leaving a bar with van der Sloot during a vacation to Aruba for her high school graduation. Van der Sloot, who was 17 years old at the time, was repeatedly detained but never charged in relation to the disappearance of the 18-year-old. Legally proclaimed deceased in 2012, Natalee’s remains have never been located.
Then, precisely five years after Natalee’s disappearance, van der Sloot would confess to mu*rdering Stephany, age 21, in his Lima hotel room by beating, strangling, and suffocating. Stephany, he reportedly told investigators, was provoked to the violence after viewing an online message in which he was accused of disappearing Natalee.
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Additionally in 2010, he was indicted by an Alabama grand jury nearly 3,000 miles away for extorting Beth for $25,000 in exchange for “the location of Natalee Holloway’s remains and the circumstances surrounding her death.” According to the indictment obtained by PEOPLE, he attempted to obtain an additional $225,000 “upon positive identification of the remains.”
The “temporary surrender” of van der Sloot to stand trial in Alabama prior to his return to Peru to complete his sentence was granted by Peru, according to a statement released this summer by U.S. federal prosecutors. Following that, he would return to the United States to serve his extortion sentence.