Joran van der Sloot, chief suspect in Natalee Holloway disappearance, transferred to U.S. custody

Joran van der Sloot, chief suspect in Natalee Holloway disappearance, transferred to U.S. custody

The Dutch man long suspected of playing a role the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway has arrived in the U.S. to face fraud allegations.

Joran van der Sloot left the Piedras Gordas prison Thursday morning and was taken to the Jorge Chavez International Airport in Callao, Peru, where he was handed over to U.S. authorities. A plane carrying van der Sloot landed in Birmingham, Ala., Thursday afternoon.

He completed less than half of his 28-year prison sentence in Peru for the killing of another woman in 2010 before the transfer.

Holloway’s disappearance 18 years ago has long vexed authorities in Aruba and the United States. Peruvian officials revealed last month they were handing him over to the American authorities.

A spokesperson for Holloway’s mother said in a statement Thursday that Beth Holloway has been waiting nearly two decades for this day to arrive.

“For over 18 years, Beth Holloway has been hoping, praying, and fighting for this day — a day that is a monumental milestone in her relentless quest for seeking justice for Natalee,” according to the statement from George Patriot Seymore. “She is pleased that Joran van der Sloot has been extradited to the United States and will finally answer for his heinous crimes against her beloved daughter.”

The 18-year-old Holloway was vacationing with classmates in Aruba, celebrating their high school graduation, when she vanished on May 30, 2005, and hasn’t been seen since. She was last seen getting into a car with van der Sloot and two other men.

While Holloway’s body has not been found, she’s been declared legally dead by an Alabama probate judge.

Van der Sloot was arrested in connection to Holloway’s disappearance but later released because of a lack of evidence.

While van der Sloot has never been prosecuted for kidnapping or murder in the Holloway case, he’s been indicted in the Northern District of Alabama on federal allegations of wire fraud and extortion.

He’s accused of lying to the teen’s mother, Beth Holloway, and taking $25,000 from her in exchange for information about the location of Natalee’s body.

“I am overcome with mixed emotions. As a mother who has tirelessly pursued justice for the abduction and murder of my precious daughter, I stand before you today with a heart both heavy with sorrow and yet lifted by a glimmer of hope,” Beth Holloway said in her statement. “For 18 years, I have lived with the unbearable pain of Natalee’s loss. Each day has been filled with unanswered questions and a longing for justice that has eluded us at every turn. But today, with her perpetrator’s extradition to the United States, I am hopeful that some small semblance of justice may finally be realized, even though no act of justice will heal the pain we’ve endured.”

According to the 2010 indictment, van der Sloot “confirmed by e-mail that the information he provided concerning Natalee Holloway was ‘worthless.'”

Van der Sloot had spent more than a decade behind bars in Peru for the killing of business student Stephany Flores, 21, in a Lima hotel room on May 30, 2010.

He reportedly attacked Flores after she looked at his laptop computer and determined he was connected to Holloway’s disappearance.

Chantal Da Silva and Antonio Planas contributed.

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