BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The man believed to be a suspect in the 2005 death of an Alabama high school student who was vacationing in the Caribbean will be extradited to the U.S. to be prosecuted.
According to a release Wednesday from the Patriot Strategies firm in Washington, the Peruvian government issued a temporary decree that will allow Joran van der Sloot to be sent to the U.S., WBMA-TV reported. Van der Sloot is a suspect in the murder of Mountain Brook High School graduate Natalee Holloway, 18, who disappeared during a trip to Aruba on May 30, 2005. Holloway was last seen leaving a bar with van der Sloot, according to The Associated Press.
An Alabama judge declared Holloway legally dead in January 2012, WBMA reported. Her body has never been found.
Van Der Sloot has been serving a 28-year sentence in Peru for the 2010 murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores Ramírez, WBRC-TV reported.
The Peruvian Embassy in Washington told the AP the order allows for the extradition of van der Sloot to be prosecuted for alleged extortion and wire fraud, charges that stem from the Holloway case. He has never been charged in the Holloway case.
U.S. prosecutors allege that van der Sloot accepted $25,000 from Holloway’s family in exchange for a promise to lead them to her body in 2010. That did not happen, and van der Sloot soon traveled to Peru, according to the news organization.
A 2001 treaty between Peru and the U.S. allows a suspect to be temporarily extradited to face trial in the other country, the AP reported.
In a statement, Holloway’s mother, Beth Holloway said that “we are finally getting justice for Natalee.”
“I was blessed to have had Natalee in my life for 18 years, and as of this month, I have been without her for exactly 18 years,” Beth Holloway said. “She would be 36 years old now. It has been a very long and painful journey, but the persistence of many is going to pay off.”
Beth Holloway also thanked Peru’s president, Dina Boluarte, Ramírez’s family, the U.S. embassy in Peru, the FBI, the Peruvian embassy and her attorney, WBRC reported. She also thanked George Seymore and Marc Wachtenheim of Patriot Strategies.
“We hope that this action will enable a process that will help to bring peace to Mrs. Holloway and to her family, who are grieving in the same way that the Flores family in Peru is grieving for the loss of their daughter, Stephany,” Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, Peru’s ambassador to the U.S., said in a statement.