The family of Natalee Holloway has been waiting a long time to haul her suspected killer, Joran van der Sloot, into an American courtroom. And now it looks like the parents of the Alabama teen missing (and considered dead) since her high school trip to Aruba in May 2005 are going to have to wait even longer. Peru, the country that has van der Sloot locked away in a jail cell for murder, has agreed to extradite the Dutch national to the United States.
But first they want him to actually pay for killing 21-year-old Stephany Flores in a Lima hotel room. Can you blame them?
The Peruvian government has announced they'll send van der Sloot to American in 2038 -- after he's finished a 28-year sentence for the Flores murder. That's when he would face federal American charges of extortion and wire fraud.
Van der Sloot allegedly took $25,000 from Natalee's mother, Beth Holloway, in 2010, with a promise to lead a Holloway family lawyer to her body. Only, as we all know, the Holloway family never got what they wanted -- closure. Natalee's body, to this day, has not been found. And despite van der Sloot still being considered the prime suspect in her disappearance and murder, he's never been forced to answer to anything he's allegedly done to the Holloway family.
I feel for these folks; I really do. Their daughter died, and they deserve to the know the truth. They deserve a little justice, a little closure.
This news from Peru is surely a staggering blow to people who really shouldn't have to deal with anything else! They've been through enough!
But might I point out that the sturm and drang over the Peruvian decision to hold off on extraditing Joran van der Sloot is just so American? The Holloways can be angry, but the rest of us? We need to look at the bigger picture. It's typical of folks here in the U.S. of A. to act like our problems somehow supersede those of other people.
What about Stephany Flores' family? Their daughter was killed too. They too deserve justice. And keeping their daughter's murderer behind bars for 20-some-odd years is certainly in their best interests. This isn't just Peru not bending to American authority; it's Peru looking out for another family, another dead girl.
Send him over to America, and what do the Floreses get? More to the point, what do the Holloways get, exactly? An American court can do plenty, but they can't fix things for Natalee's family. They can't make Joran van der Sloot confess to murdering Natalee Holloway or come up with her body (Aruban officials have tried and tried and tried again, to no avail). And the sentence for extortion and wire fraud -- if he's guilty -- is unlikely to be any more harsh than 28 years in prison for murder.
Again, my heart goes out to the Holloways, but sadly there seems no real way to solve their problems, and pushing Peru any further only seems like it will hurt another, already grieving family. It seems like there simply is no "good" answer here.
What do you think of this case? Did you believe from the beginning that Joran van der Sloot was involved in Natalee's death?
Image via Coreccion de Criminilistica Division Central de Identificaciaon Policia