Joran van der Sloot, the Dutch native charged with killing a Peruvian woman and extorting money from the mother of missing U.S. teen Natalee Holloway, may have even more legal problems ahead.
Earlier this month, the National Enquirer reported on van der Sloot’s alleged involvement in sex trafficking in Thailand. Now Peru’s minister of justice has confirmed that Thai authorities are pursuing criminal charges against van der Sloot, according to CBS News.
Some of the girls he allegedly approached have disappeared and have never been found, according to the Enquirer.
Though cautioning that it’s only supposition until Thai authorities finish their investigation, Harold Copus — a former FBI agent who was once hired to investigate the Holloway case by the “Dr. Phil” show — said van der Sloot is believed to have been a middle man.
“In the sex slave industry, the middle man would get a fee for getting the girls and moving them around,” said Copus, now head of Copus Security Consultants in Atlanta.
During his own investigation in Aruba, Copus heard rumors that “girls were taken out of Aruba to be used in the sex trade,” he said. “There was supposedly a guy from Chicago there, a reputed mobster, who has been quoted as saying that a good [sex slave] is worth a quarter of a million dollars.”
Copus told AOL News that while there is a possibility that Holloway, if kidnapped, was sold into slavery, he doubts she would still be alive today.
“Usually they’ll dope the girls up so they have no concept of what they are doing,” Copus explained, adding that once the women are deemed no longer useful, they often are killed.
“There is another seedy business out there called the snuff trade, where they sell or trade recordings of actual murders,” he said. “That’s the final exploitation.”
The National Enquirer’s report is not the first time van der Sloot’s name has come up during investigations into the illegal sex trade industry.
In 2008, Dutch journalist Peter de Vries secretly videotaped van der Sloot inside a Bangkok room with two young Thai women and two men who were posing as Dutch sex trade bosses. According to de Vries’ expose, van der Sloot told the women they would be working as models in Holland, but in actuality they would be delivered to the Dutch prostitution market and he would make several thousand dollars for each woman he delivered.
“He was in the process of recruiting girls for prostitution … that is what we saw [in the video],” Copus said. “What we didn’t see was what was going to happen if the girls didn’t want to be a prostitute. There’s a lot of concern here as to what his intentions were.”
Not long after the video aired, van der Sloot appeared on the Fox News program “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren.” During the interview, he told Van Susteren he had sold Holloway to a mysterious stranger on a boat for $9,600.
“He just handed me a bag, grabbed [Natalee] by the arm and he went to the boat that he had in the water,” van der Sloot said.
But like other confessions he allegedly has made, van der Sloot later contacted Van Susteren and said the story was a lie.
2 Cases, 1 Suspect
Police in Peru said Joran van der Sloot confessed to the May 30 killing of a 21-year-old Peruvian woman in his Lima hotel room. He retracted the statement, but a Peruvian judge upheld it and his attorney has promised to appeal. Van der Sloot has long been a suspect in the disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway in 2005.
Stephany Flores was reportedly seen with van der Sloot on May 29 at a Lima, Peru, casino, where he was said to have been participating in a poker tournament, and on May 30, at the hotel, where her body was found. Reports say the suspect became enraged after discovering Flores used his laptop and found he was connected to Holloway’s disappearance.
Hotel security camera footage released by Peruvian police showed van der Sloot leaving his hotel room alone on May 30. Earlier footage showed him arriving at the hotel with Flores. Van der Sloot faces charges of first-degree murder and robbery in Flores’ death. He is currently being held in Miguel Castro Castro, a maximum-security prison on the outskirts of Lima.
Van der Sloot said he took cash from Flores’ wallet and went south to Chile, where he was later arrested. Here, Chilean police escort him out of a police station to be flown back to Peru on June 4.
Maria Elena Ramirez attends the funeral of her 21-year-old daughter, Stephany Flores, in Lima, Peru, on June 3.
Holloway was 18 when she disappeared while vacationing with friends in Aruba. She was last seen with van der Sloot, who made multiple, varying confessions in the case that prosecutors said were a mixture of “lies and fantasy.” Authorities believe Holloway is dead, but her body has not been found.
Van der Sloot, center, and brothers Satish Kalpoe, left, and Deepak Kalpoe, right, were seen leaving a nightclub with Holloway. All three were arrested but not charged in the case. Van der Sloot reportedly told Peruvian authorities he would discuss the location of Holloway’s body with Aruban officials, but only if he gets a transfer to a prison in the Caribbean island.
Holloway, left, poses with friends on May 29, 2005, just hours before her disappearance. The young women were on the trip to celebrate their high school graduation and were due to return to the U.S. the next day. (Sources: AP, ABC News, CNN)
If charges are filed against van der Sloot in Thailand, authorities there will have to wait until Peruvian officials wrap up their case against him. The Dutchman is being held there on charges of first-degree murder and robbery in the slaying of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, who was found dead in van der Sloot’s Lima hotel room on June 2.
If convicted of Flores’ murder, van der Sloot faces 15 to 35 years in prison.
Van der Sloot has also been indicted by U.S. authorities for his alleged involvement in a plot to extort $250,000 from Holloway’s family for information on her death and the location of her body.
There has been some concern that a conviction in Peru could mean that van der Sloot won’t face charges in the U.S. or Thailand — in the event charges are also filed there — because of the statute of limitations. But that won’t be an issue, said Steve Cron, a veteran criminal defense attorney in Santa Monica, Calif.
“Assuming he is convicted [in Peru], these other countries are going to make arrangements to have him flown [in] to stand trial, with the understanding that he’ll be returned to Peru once the trials are over,” Cron told AOL News. “Then, once Peru is done with him, he’ll have to go serve out any other remaining sentences in the other countries.”
While van der Sloot’s freedom continues to remain in question, Cron believes one thing is certain: “This kid’s going to be facing a lot of legal battles in the coming years.”
When officers arrived at the home, they found Daniel Clayton Kufner, 19, and Natasha La’May Hall, 17, dead on the front porch of Hall’s home. Investigators said both were shot with a small revolver that was found near the bodies.
Police said Kufner and Hall had been dating, and investigators believed Kufner may have been pulled the trigger. Hall’s father said his daughter was murdered.
During a vigil Saturday night, Hall’s father said she recently broke up with Kufner, and began dating another man. The father said Kufner broke into their house Friday night, found the new boyfriend’s number on their caller ID and harassed him.
When Hall came home with her friend, Michelle Karpowicz, to change her clothes, Hall’s father said Kufer came from the side of the house and shot her in the head. Karpowicz said Kufner was muttering, then shot Hall in the chest.
Karpowicz says Kufner took a shot at her, before turning the gun on himself. Hall’s friends were obviously stunned, and tried to cope with the tragedy. “This was a shock,” said Travis Graham, a friend of Hall’s. “I just saw her Thursday, said hello, and she was so happy. Didn’t come to school Friday. Just found out today that she died.”
Hall’s mother told the Daytona Beach News Journal that Kufner would not take no for an answer, and refused to accept that Natasha had broken up with him three months ago. The mother claimed Kufner physically abused Hall, and her family tried to press charges twice.
Most RecentMost Recommended Comments (5)
flagged this story as Good Stuffat 13:36 on May 15th, 2008
CJaye, I like this story. It’s good stuff
at 07:05 on May 17th, 2008
at 07:38 on September 26th, 2009
Yesterday Ms. Hall got a call from a teen dealing with teen dating violence in DeLand Florida. I wont get into details. She went to the court house they told her she needed to go to the DeLand P.D. Ms. Hall told her they are right she needs to go the DeLand P.D press charges on her boyfriend for stalking. The DeLand P.D told her there is nothing they can do for her. Does any of this sound like another case just recently? The teen was crying felt no one was helping her. Then she told them she talked with Natasha Hall’s mother. Then all of a sudden they changed their minds pressed charges on him went and arrested him. Will DeLand P.D ever learn? Her life was in danger and DeLand P.D still doing nothing. Does it take two more teens dying for the police there to realize these teens need help to protect themselfs from this kind of violence. Ms. Hall has a group meeting with the Domestic Abuse Council this month, I hope together they can make changes.
flagged this story as Good Stuffat 07:45 on September 26th, 2008
CJaye, I like this story. It’s good stuff. I have had the problem with empty fields, I seem to do better with Firefox browser.
When I started working on Shellie Carson’s case researching the Virginia Beach Police Department web site I found that there was a Homicide Bar. Well I clicked on the bar and low and behold I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There were 68 unsolved homicides in the city that I lived in dated back to 1970.
Most of the cases were assigned a detective. Some so old and hardly any info on the cases so there was no need to assign anyone, I don’t know. There are a couple of baby Jane Doe’s, a couple of John Doe’s as well. I’m going to list all 68 I’ve also made a video I’ve only used the ones with photo’s in the video. I’m going to make another video with just names later. The list below is the ones without pictures. If anyone recognizes any of these cases or people if you know anything please contact the Va. Beach Police Department. 757-385-5000.
These are the names listed as unsolved not in the video:
JESSE TERRELL BROWN
SHAWN GARY JOHN
TERRY D. FERGUSON
BABY JANE DOE
MORRIEL “BO” MCCAIN
JOSEPH “STINKY” MAYHAN
SHARON “KIMBERLY” DISNEY
JOHN DOE 1983
JOHN DOE 1981
JANE DOE 1976
(INFANT) BABY JANE DOE 1970
RONALD E. KEITH
CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico, – “Sometimes I’m cheerful, but other times I see no reason for working in the community or even for life,” said Paula Flores, who has become the symbol of the fight for justice for the hundreds of women who have been murdered or disappeared in this northern Mexican border city.
“Sometimes I hit bottom,” admitted Flores, 52, speaking to IPS in her home. Her voice was subdued and her sad gaze rested on some point out in the desert that surrounds the Lomas de Poleo neighbourhood. Located in Ciudad Juárez’s western outskirts, it is a long way from city centre — and poverty is more than evident.
Sand covers the unpaved streets, an extension of the desert that for the last two decades has witnessed some of the most gruesome sexual violence — nearly all of which has gone unpunished.
Paula Flores is the focus of a documentary film that was screened at the 3rd International Human Rights Film Festival, May 21-June 3 in Mexico City, 1,840 kilometres south of Ciudad Juárez.
Directed by José Bonilla, “La Carta: Sagrario… nunca has muerto para mí” (The Letter: Sagrario… For Me, You Never Died), centred on the mother’s perspective, follows the 12-year fight for justice of the family of Sagrario González Flores, who was raped, tortured and murdered in 1998.
“Juárez is an issue that is a challenge to all of us,” the director told IPS.
Sagrario disappeared Apr. 16, 1998, two months before her 18th birthday. Her body was found in the desert 14 days later. She was the fourth of seven children of Paula Flores and Jesús González. Her father committed suicide in 2006, unable to overcome his grief.
The family had moved to Ciudad Juárez, in Chihuahua state, in 1995 from a town in the neighbouring state of Durango. They dreamed of improving their lives in a city where the for-export factories, known as “maquilas,” were still booming.
In the 1970s, Mexico had become fertile ground for these subsidised and tax- exempt assembly plants, which are largely unregulated and operate on cheap labour, employing mostly women.
“We had no idea what awaited us here,” Flores said, her voice a whisper.
In February 2005, the family convinced the police to arrest José Luis Hernández, alias El Manuelillo, a well-known figure in the neighbourhood who worked as a “coyote” — a human trafficker who was paid to cross undocumented migrants illegally into the United States.
Hernández had disappeared for seven years, shortly after the crime. It was the family’s own investigation that led to him.
In his initial statement, he said two men had paid him 500 dollars to deliver the young woman, who was intercepted as she left her job at the maquila, shortly after 3:00 pm. That was not the usual time that her shift ended — management had abruptly changed her schedule — which meant her father was not there to accompany her home.
But during the trial, Hernández changed his story, asserting that he acted alone. He is now serving a 28-year sentence in a prison far from Juárez, in the southwestern state of Jalisco.
“The case has not been resolved,” said Sagrario’s mother as she looked through newspaper clippings about the family’s 12-year search for justice.
“They never put together a reconstruction of the events, and when I told off Manuelillo, he said that the cops had told him to make that statement (about acting alone) so they could close the case,” she said.
Since 1993, when the first killings of maquila women were reported, crimes of gender violence have continued unabated, and the numerous human rights and victims organisations working on this problem agree that the death toll has surpassed the thousand mark.
Official reports state that about 800 women have been killed since then. But the authorities do not record them as femicides (“feminicidios” in Spanish) — defined as the systematic killing of women, or killing based on gender hatred, a definition that arose from the Juárez crimes.
Government agencies only recognise that more than eight percent of the women’s deaths can be attributed to “crimes of passion” or “family problems,” and 12 percent have “unidentified causes.”
The current rate of murdered women in Juárez is 23 per 100,000 women, which is three times the rate that the World Health Organisation defines as an epidemic. However, in this already violent city, torn by drug trafficking, it is far below the rate of murdered men: 354 per 100,000.
“That other violence has overtaken the issue (of femicide), but the girls keep disappearing, and that they aren’t found as quickly is another thing,” said Flores.
According to a study by the non-governmental Juárez Citizen Security Observatory, the murder of women has jumped 579 percent since the city got caught up in the wars between the drug trafficking cartels.
Of the 259 women killed in the last two years, 51 were clearly attributable to gender violence.
“Impunity is the key to continued femicide in Juárez,” summarised Patricia Ravelo, who conducted all the research that went into the documentary film.
On Nov. 16, 2009, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a condemnatory sentence against the Mexican state for the murder of three women in Campo Algodonero, outside Ciudad Juárez. It was the first ruling of its kind and established reparations for gender-based killings.
The ruling, which cannot be appealed, holds accountable several officials, charged for supporting impunity in the femicides.
In particular, the families of the victims point to Arturo Chávez, who currently serves as Mexico’s Attorney General, and was the Chihuahua state attorney general when the Campo Algodonero murders occurred.
His designation as national attorney general came under fire from women’s and human rights organisation in Chihuahua. To add insult to injury, they said, the government of conservative President Felipe Calderón, who has not approached the Juárez families, ignored their protests.
“We have come up against the fact that the Mexican state is unwilling to carry out the (Inter-American Court’s) sentence,” said David Peña, attorney with the human rights watchdog Amnesty International.
Paula Flores brought a lawsuit before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2007. That year she also founded the Sagrario Foundation, which looks for ways to articulate a cultural alternative to violence.
Also, since 2002, the María Sagrario Flores González nursery school has been operating in Lomas de Poleo, providing care for 250 children under age six.
“Some families are tired of the issue, and people have grown accustomed” to the femicides, said Flores. She believes the strategy of the state and national governments is to minimise the phenomenon and discredit the organisations.
“But my daughter is not a myth, as the governor (José Baeza) says, that the dead women of Juárez are a myth. I didn’t make it up. Sagrario did live — she had a great desire to live.”
LIMA, Peru—Dutchman Joran van der Sloot, long the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of a U.S. teen in Aruba, has confessed to killing a young Peruvian woman in his Lima hotel room last week, a police spokesman said.
Peru’s chief police spokesman, Col. Abel Gamarra, said Mr. van der Sloot admitted under police questioning Monday that he killed 21-year-old Stephany Flores on May 30.
The Peruvian TV channel America Noticias reported that Mr. van der Sloot killed Ms. Flores in a rage after learning she had looked up information about his past on his laptop. It said it had access to details of the confession but did not cite its source.
Col. Gamarra refused to provide details of the confession. Nor would the chief of Peru’s criminal police, Gen. Cesar Guardia, when reached by telephone. Gen. Guardia said only police director Gen. Miguel Hidalgo could authorize the information to be divulged. Gen. Hidalgo’s cell phone rang unanswered.
Asked about the van der Sloot confession, a brother of the victim, Enrique Flores, said: “We are not going to make any comment. This is in the hands of the police, of the justice system.”
Mr. van der Sloot’s confession 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 Ms. Flores’ slaying, Col. Gamarra said.
Ms. Flores, a business student, was found beaten to death, her neck broken, in the 22-year-old Dutchman’s hotel room.
Police said the two met playing poker at a casino. Police released video on Saturday taken by hotel security cameras that shows the two entering Mr. van der Sloot’s hotel room together at 5 a.m. Saturday and Mr. van der Sloot leaving alone four hours later with his bags. Police said Mr. van der Sloot left the hotel briefly at 8:10 a.m., returning to the room with two cups of coffee and bread purchased across the street at a supermarket.
Col. Gamarra said the case would now be turned over to prosecutors to present formal charges and Mr. 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 and it wasn’t immediately clear if a confession could lead to a reduced sentence.
Mr. van der Sloot remains the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, then 18, on the Caribbean resort island of Aruba while she was celebrating her high school graduation. Mr. van der Sloot told investigators he left her on a beach, drunk. That’s the last anyone saw her.
He was arrested twice in the case—and gave a number of conflicting confessions, some of them in TV interviews—but was freed for lack of evidence.
A fixture on true crime shows and tabloids after Ms. Holloway’s disappearance, he gained a reputation for lying—even admitting a penchant for it—and also exhibited a volatile temper. In one Dutch television interview he threw a glass of wine in a reporter’s eyes. In another, he threw a glass against a wall.
Mr. van der Sloot had been held at Peruvian criminal police headquarters since arriving Saturday by highway from Chile, where he was captured on Thursday.
He had crossed into Chile on Monday, nearly a day after leaving the Lima hotel.
Ms. Flores’ battered body was found on the room’s floor more than two days later, her neck broken.
In video taken of Mr. van der Sloot that was broadcast Sunday by a TV channel, Peruvian police were seen searching his belongings in his presence. They were shown pulling out of his backpack a laptop, a business-card holder and 15 bills in foreign currency.
Chilean police who questioned Mr. van der Sloot on Thursday said he declared himself innocent of the Lima slaying but acknowledged having met Ms. Flores.
Mr. an der Sloot was represented by a state-appointed lawyer during Saturday’s questioning and both a Dutch Embassy official and his U.S.-based attorney said on Sunday that he was seeking to hire his own counsel.
The suspect’s father, a former judge and attorney on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, died in February.
There were indications Mr. van der Sloot may have been traveling on money gained through extortion. The day of his arrest in Chile, Mr. van der Sloot was charged in the U.S. with trying to extort $250,000 from Ms. Holloway’s family in exchange for disclosing the location of her body and describing how she died.
U.S. prosecutors say $15,000 was transferred to a Dutch bank account in his name on May 10. He arrived in Peru four days later.
Two years ago, a Dutch television crime reporter captured hidden-camera footage of Mr. van der Sloot saying that after Ms. Holloway collapsed on the beach he asked a friend to dump her body in the sea. The same journalist, Peter de Vries, reported later in 2008 that Mr. van der Sloot was recruiting Thai women in Bangkok for sex work in the Netherlands. It was Mr. de Vries in whose eyes Mr. van der Sloot threw the wine.
Would you buy serial killer Joel Rifkin’s former home, where several of his victims were slain? What about the Amityville Horror house? Both homes are currently up for sale, and the idea of living in either one makes many buyers squirm and decide to look elsewhere.
Most buyers would also probably want to know that the house pictured to the left was built on the same suburban Chicago lot as the home where notorious murderer John Wayne Gacy buried 29 of his victims in the walls and crawl spaces.
Murder aside, quite a few buyers would also opt out of a home where someone died from disease, natural causes or suicide. If the idea of living in such a home churns your stomach, do you know for certain that no one has died in the home or apartment you’re currently living in?
There are a few ways to find out; just don’t expect to hear about them from the seller.
“In my opinion it would be better if they found out from the broker,” a top Hamptons-area real estate agent, Diane Saatchi of Saunders & Assoc. told HousingWatch. Saatchi was the agent seeking renters for an infamous murder house in that area of Long Island, N.Y., a few years ago. Although she wouldn’t identify which murder, it was more than likely the home of investment banker Robert Ammon, who was murdered by Daniel Pelosi, the boyfriend of his wife, Generosa Rand.
“Everyone in town knew there was a murder there — it was the 800-pound elephant in the room — so if you don’t reveal it [the next occupants] would just say, ‘Why didn’t you tell us?’ It is just good business to be upfront about it,” she says.
In agreement is California Realtor Valerie Torelli, who has twice sold murder homes in Costa Mesa, Calif. Under California law, a seller must disclose if a murder was committed within the last three years. But she feels a duty to reveal beyond what the state mandates. “We felt that we should disclose for a much longer time-frame because of the stigma,” she told HousingWatch.
Torelli’s first client didn’t care about the murder, which had occurred 18 months before. “There were several families that looked at it and would not consider it because of what happened there. Ultimately the property sold at full market value at the time, $729,000,” she said. Her other client has renters in a murder home.
The reason some agents don’t want to reveal the deaths is because, as the sellers’ agents, their job is to get the home sold quickly and at the best possible price. If a murder is disclosed, the home could take 5 percent longer than comparable homes to sell, and it could price at an average of about 3 percent less, according to an analysis of 100 “psychologically impacted houses” by Wright State University professors James E. Larsen and Joseph W. Coleman.
So if an agent isn’t as forthcoming as Torelli and Saatchi, or if they are even unaware because it wasn’t a high-profile death, your best bet to uncover this tidbit is simply to do your homework. After all, it is “buyer beware.”
Here are some tips to get you started before you sign on the dotted line:
1. Ask the Joneses. Neighbors generally would know if a home had been the scene of a grisly murder. They might also know if grandpa just passed away there and his heirs put the home on the market. So go knock on some doors and ask the neighbors things like: How’s traffic in the morning? Are there lots of kids in the neighborhood? And oh, did anyone die next door?
2. Pull police records. Police precincts serving that neighborhood generally would charge you a nominal fee to give you a printout of any police calls made to a given address going back a few years. Discover whether the home was a meth lab, a constant site of domestic disputes, hit by a random burglary, or had body parts stuffed under floorboards.
3. Google the address. Sometimes you’ll discover newspaper articles written about the home or incidents that occurred there. In addition to the exact address, also try searching the street and city name with the words “in the block of.”
4. Check city records. Just as you might want to know if the cross street is going to be turned into a major highway, you can find out a lot from city records, such as if the plot nextdoor used to be a cemetery, or if the house was torn down and rebuilt. If it was, you should ask why. One house that was demolished was serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s suburban Chicago home. After the lot sat empty for about a decade, a new home was finally built there.
If you’re the seller . . .
You can do your part to help the sale, says Saatchi. For starters, refurbish parts of the home that might have been revealed a lot in the news. For example, the “Amityville Horror” house became highly recognizable because of its arched windows on a side of the house. A future owner replaced them with square ones.
Also, have someone live in the house until it’s sold, she says. “People already think it’s creepy that someone died there, but empty houses add another layer of spookiness.” A housekeeper remained in a murder house Saatchi had listed until a new occupant was found.
And finally, do all those other things that you should be doing to sell a home anyway: “Don’t have dead flowers in the house; get rid of the Kitty Litter smell; make sure there’s not a dead bird on the patio. If kids have lived there, the toys and dolls should be fresh-looking, not a pathetic-looking doll. And get rid of memorabilia that could remind seekers of the deceased,” she says.
There are reports that Joran Van der Sloot has taken his own life. His body was found near the Peruvian border.
The poor little globe trotting rich boy, recently became the prime suspect in the brutal stabbing death of 21-year-old Stephany Tatiana Flores Ramirez.
Ramirez’ body was found wrapped in a blanket in a room registered under Joran Van der Sloots name at the hotel Tac in Miraflores. Since the discovery, Van der Sloot has been no where to be found, until now.
Five years ago, Joran became the prime suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, an 18 year old student who was celebrating her high school graduation while vacationing in Aruba. Holloway’s body was never found and between botched police work by Aruban authorities and a lenient judicial system, Van der Sloot was ultimately allowed to remain free.
If the report of Joran Van der Sloot’s suicide is true, all I can say is that it was the first thing he did right in years