Police: Holloway suspect Joran van der Sloot says he killed woman in Peru

Van der Sloot
Van der Sloot (Karel Navarro - AP)
  Enlarge Photo    
By Franklin Briceno
Wednesday, June 9, 2010

LIMA, PERU -- Dutchman Joran van der Sloot, long the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of a U.S. teenager in Aruba, has stated under questioning that he killed a young Peruvian woman in his Lima hotel room, Peru's chief police spokesman said Tuesday.

Col. Abel Gamarra said Van der Sloot told police Monday that he killed 21-year-old Stephany Flores on May 30.

Several Peruvian news outlets reported that Van der Sloot killed Flores in a rage after learning she had looked up information about his past on his laptop without his permission. They did not name their sources.

The newspaper La Rep├║blica said that in the presence of a prosecutor and a state-appointed attorney, Van der Sloot tearfully described grabbing Flores by the neck and hitting her, saying that while he was out buying coffee, she had viewed photos and videos on his computer about the 2005 disappearance in Aruba of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway. The 22-year-old Dutchman remains the prime suspect in that case.

Van der Sloot's statement came on his third full day in Peruvian police custody, on the eve of a planned trip to the hotel in which he was to participate in a reconstruction of the events leading to Flores's slaying, Gamarra said.

Flores, a business student, was found beaten to death, her neck broken, in the Dutchman's hotel room. Police said the two met playing poker at a casino.

Video from hotel security cameras shows the two entering Van der Sloot's hotel room together at 5 a.m. that Saturday and Van der Sloot leaving alone four hours later with his bags. Police say Van der Sloot also left the hotel briefly at 8:10 a.m. and returned with two cups of coffee and bread purchased across the street at a supermarket.

Gamarra said that the case will now be turned over to prosecutors to present formal charges and that Van der Sloot will be assigned to a prison while he awaits trial. Murder convictions carry a maximum of 35 years in prison in Peru.

Van der Sloot was arrested twice in the Aruba case -- and gave a number of conflicting confessions, some in TV interviews -- but was freed for lack of evidence.

Van der Sloot had been held at Peruvian criminal police headquarters since arriving Saturday in a police convoy from Chile, where he was arrested Thursday. He had crossed into Chile the previous Monday, nearly a day after leaving the Lima hotel. Flores's death came five years to the day after Holloway's disappearance.

Lima's deputy medical investigator, Victor Tejada, said Flores was killed by blows with a blunt object, probably the tennis racket found in the hotel room.

-- Associated Press


© 2010 The Washington Post Company