Suspect admits he killed Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005, pleads guilty to extorting her mother

Beth Holloway, mother of Natalee Holloway, speaks during the opening of the Natalee Holloway Resource Center (NHRC) in 2010 at the National Museum of Crime & Punishment in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The chief suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway has admitted he beat the young Alabama woman to death on a beach in Aruba after she refused his advances, then dumped her body into the sea. New details in the killing emerged Wednesday as Joran van der Sloot pleaded guilty to extorting Holloway’s mother, resolving a case that has captivated the public’s attention for nearly 20 years.

Although he isn’t charged in Holloway’s death, van der Sloot’s attempt to squeeze a quarter million dollars from the slain teen’s mom in exchange for information about where to find Holloway’s body gave investigators a crucial link to the 2005 killing. And after finally seeing him in a U.S. courtroom, the family said they’re moving on from years of doubt and uncertainty.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s over,” Beth Holloway, Natalee’s mother, told reporters outside the federal courthouse in Alabama. “Joran van der Sloot is no longer the suspect in my daughter’s murder. He is the killer.”

Natalee Holloway went missing during a high school graduation trip with classmates. She was last seen May 30, 2005, leaving a bar with van der Sloot, a Dutch citizen and student at an international school on the Caribbean island where he grew up. He was questioned in the disappearance but never prosecuted. A judge declared Holloway dead, but her body was never found.

Now 36, van der Sloot has pleaded guilty to one count each of extortion and wire fraud in exchange for a 20-year sentence. That prison term will run concurrently with a 28-year sentence he’s serving in Peru for killing another woman, Stephany Flores, in 2010.

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