Dutch murder suspect now in Peru to face charges

The young Dutchman wanted in murder of a 21-year-old Lima woman — who also remains the lone suspect in the 2005 disappearance of a US teen Natalee Holloway — arrived in Peru`s capital on Saturday to face justice.

Updated: Jun 05, 2010, 22:34 PM IST

Lima: The young Dutchman wanted in murder of a 21-year-old Lima woman — who also remains the lone suspect in the 2005 disappearance of a US teen Natalee Holloway — arrived in Peru`s capital on Saturday to face justice.

Joran van der Sloot was driven in a brown Interpol SUV into Peru`s criminal police headquarters and then briefly paraded before the press. He wore a bulletproof vest, his hands handcuffed behind him.

He looked stunned and didn`t respond to reporters` shouted questions or even look directly at journalists.

About an hour earlier, onlookers yelled insults the 22-year-old suspect as he was transferred from a highway police station wagon.

Chile deported van der Sloot at the countries` border on Friday and he was driven 17 hours north in a police caravan.

Chilean police spokesman Fernando Ovalle said the Dutchman told them he did not kill Stephany Flores, who was found battered with a broken neck on Sunday in his Lima hotel room. But van der Sloot did acknowledge that "he met her and at some point they went to a casino."

Peruvian police say witnesses saw the two, who met at a nearby casino, enter the room together and van der Sloot leave alone.

Peru`s interior minister, Octavio Salazar, reminded reporters in a brief news conference at criminal police headquarters that the murder investigation was not over.

"You need to be calm. We can`t rush the matter, nor can we give detailes concerning the event or that investigation itself," he said.

The girl`s father, Ricardo Flores, said to a news agency that video cameras tracked the couple as they walked before dawn Sunday to van der Sloot`s hotel from the casino in Lima`s upscale Miraflores district where they met playing poker.

Flores, a 48-year-old circus promoter and former race car driver, said he doesn`t want the death penalty for van der Sloot, only justice. In Peru, murder carries a prison sentence of up to 35 years.

"I haven`t slept since Monday," said Flores, his eyelids heavy and speech slurred, in an interview at his Lima home. "I`m waiting for him to step foot on Peruvian soil."

Van der Sloot remains the prime suspect in the May, 30, 2005 disappearance of Alabama teen Holloway on the Dutch island of Aruba.

He also now faces criminal charges in the United States of trying to extort $250,000 from Holloway`s family in exchange for disclosing the location of Holloway`s body and describing how she died.

US prosecutors charged van der Sloot with the crime on Thursday, saying $15,000 had been transferred to a Dutch bank account in his name. In the Netherlands on Friday, prosecutors acting on a US request raided two homes seeking evidence in the case, seizing computers, cell phones and data-storage devices.

The body of Stephany Flores, a business student with a sunny disposition, was found late Tuesday in the Lima hotel room where van der Sloot had been staying since arriving in Peru on May 14 from Colombia.

She was fully clothed, with multiple bruises and scratches on her body but no signs she had been sexually assaulted, the chief of Peru`s criminal police, Gen. Cesar Guardia, said to a news agency.

A tennis racket was found in the room "that could have been the murder weapon but that`s so far not been proven," said Dr. Cesar Tejada, deputy Lima medical examiner.

"My daughter resisted," Flores said to a news agency in a marble-floored interior porch of his home. "There was violence, resistance to being raped — and there`s where she was murdered."

Flores said police wouldn`t let him see his daughter`s battered body. His oldest son, 35, identified her at the morgue, and the casket was closed at her funeral.

Flores said he expected her to be exhumed for DNA testing.
"Under the fingernails of my daughter there are traces, evidence, that`s why they didn`t permit her cremation," he said.

Dr. Tejada confirmed that evidence could be found under the girl`s fingernails.
Holloway was an 18-year-old celebrating her high school graduation on Aruba when she disappeared. Van der Sloot told investigators he left her on a beach, drunk. That`s the last anyone saw of her. Van der Sloot was twice arrested in her disappearance — and twice released for insufficient evidence.

Two years ago, a Dutch television crime reporter captured hidden-camera footage of van der Sloot saying that after Holloway collapsed on the beach he asked a friend to dump her body in the sea. But judges in Aruba ruled it insufficient to re-arrest him. The same journalist, Peter de Vries, reported later in 2008 that van der Sloot was recruiting Thai women in Bangkok for sex work in the Netherlands.

Holloway`s uncle, Paul Reynolds, told NBC`s "Today" show on Friday that the family hopes to see van der Sloot behind bars and the Aruba case reopened. He called the alleged extortion attempt "despicable."

A New York lawyer for van der Sloot, Joseph Tacopina, had no immediate comment.

Bureau Report