Update (10/19/23 2:53 p.m. ET): The audio of Joran van der Sloot’s confession to killing Natalee Holloway has been released, via TMZ. In the chilling taped recording, he detailed walking along the beach with Natalee, laying down with her, and kissing her. He said that after she denied his sexual advances, he kept trying to “feel her up,” but she eventually kneed him in the groin. After that, he said he kicked her in the head, and she was unconscious or possibly dead. He then said he struck her face with a cinderblock. “I smash her head in with it completely. Uh, yeah, her face basically, you know, uh collapses in,” he said, before revealing that he pushed her body into the ocean.
Original: The prime suspect in the Natalee Holloway case admitted that he killed the teenager who went missing in Aruba in 2005, a judge said in court on October 18. Joran van der Sloot took a plea deal with prosecutors as he confessed to the crime that took nearly 20 years to solve, according to CNN and CBS News. “I have considered your confession to the brutal murder of Natalee Holloway,” a U.S. federal judge said to Joran in court, per CNN. The judge also mentioned how Joran murdered another woman in Peru in 2010. “You have brutally murdered in separate incidents years apart two beautiful women who refused your sexual advances,” he said.
Joran reportedly pleaded guilty to extortion and wire fraud charges at the court hearing in Birmingham, Alabama. He was facing charges for trying to extort $250,000 from Natalee’s mother, Beth Holloway, in exchange for the late teenager’s remains, according to CBS News. Beth’s attorney said that as part of Joran’s plea deal, he had to give details about what happened to Natalee, which led to him admitting that he killed her. Natalee’s remains were never found and she was declared legally dead in 2012.
Natalee’s mother gave an emotional victim impact statement in court as she crucified Joran for murdering her daughter. “For 19 years you denied killing Natalee Holloway. Your lies have caused indiscernible pain. You have finally admitted that you murdered her,” she said, according to CNN. “You are a killer and I want you to remember that,” Beth added. After Joran’s confession, Beth said in a statement, “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.”
Natalee vanished on May 30, 2005, causing a media sensation in the United States. She was last seen with Joran and brothers Deepak and Satish Kalope. Aruban investigators conducted an extensive search throughout the country, but her remains were not found. Though he initially was not tied to Natalee’s disappearance, Joran was found guilty of “qualified murder” of a second woman, Stephany Flores Ramirez, in 2010 and sentenced to 28 years in prison.
Joran was arrested several times in connection to Natalee’s disappearance. Natalee’s parents, Beth and Dave Holloway, sued Joran for personal injury after the pain that Joran caused them, but the case was dismissed. In 2010, he began his plan to try to blackmail Natalee’s parents for details on where Natalee’s body was. While serving time in prison for the Peru murder conviction, Joran married his girlfriend Leidy Figuero in 2014 and she gave birth to their child later that year. Joran asked for a divorce from his wife in 2022, his lawyer Maximo Altez said in May 2023.