LIMA, Peru — The young Dutchman long suspected in a U.S. teen’s Caribbean island disappearance was delivered to Peru on Friday to face charges in the murder of a 21-year-old woman found with her neck broken in his Lima hotel room.
Joran van der Sloot told police in Chile — where he was captured on Thursday — that he did not kill Stephany Flores but did say “he met her and at some point they went to a casino,” said Fernando Ovalle, a Chilean police spokesman.
The girl’s father, Ricardo Flores, told The Associated Press that video cameras tracked the couple as they walked before dawn Sunday to van der Sloot’s hotel from the casino in Lima’s upscale Miraflores district where they met playing poker.
Flores said he doesn’t want the death penalty for van der Sloot, only justice. In Peru, murder carries a prison sentence of up to 35 years.
“I haven’t slept since Monday,” a devastated Flores, his eyelids heavy and speech slurred, said in an interview at his Lima home. “I’m waiting for him to step foot on Peruvian soil.” Then, he said, he’d take a sleeping pill or simply collapse from exhaustion.
Flores, a circus promoter and former race car driver, spoke as the husky 22-year-old Dutchman was being flown handcuffed to the border with Peru, where the Chileans handed him over to Peruvian authorities.
They put a bulletproof vest on van der Sloot, who looked frightened, and took him to a police post for a medical check before continuing on by highway to Lima, where a preliminary arrest warrant was issued for him Thursday.
Peru’s chief Cabinet minister, Javier Velasquez, told Radioprogramas radio that van der Sloot would arrive in the capital on Saturday morning.
The suspect wore the same black-hooded sweat shirt and khaki pants in which he was arrested Thursday in a taxi headed from Santiago toward Vina del Mar on Chile’s coast. He has not spoken publicly or even acknowledged reporters who have called questions to him.
Van der Sloot remains the prime suspect in the May, 30, 2005 disappearance — five years to the day of Flores’ murder — of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway on the Dutch island of Aruba.
The longtime fixture of TV true-crime shows also now faces criminal charges in the United States of trying to extort $250,000 from Holloway’s family in exchange for disclosing the location of Holloway’s body and describing how she died. U.S. prosecutors charged van der Sloot with the crime on Thursday, saying $15,000 had been transferred to a Dutch bank account in his name. In the Netherlands on Friday, prosecutors acting on a U.S. request raided two homes seeking evidence in the case, seizing computers, cell phones and data-storage devices.
The body of Stephany Flores, a business student with a sunny disposition, was found late Tuesday in the Lima hotel room where van der Sloot had been staying since arriving in Peru on May 14 from Colombia.